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Henry County pays tribute
with 9/11 ceremonies


By Alex Welch
Assistant Editor 

  The intersection of Hampton Road and Old Industrial Boulevard in McDonough went silent four times last week on Sept. 11 to remember the events that took place 12 years ago. Four ceremonies were held to mark the times the four planes crashed on the tragic day in America’s history.

The Henry County Fire Department stands and salutes during the presentation of the colors.                  Photo by Alex Welch

  As the exact time of each plane crash rolled around, local fire and police departments stopped traffic. Officer Damion Hampson of the Henry County Police Department Motorcycle Unit read a tribute and asked for a moment of silence to start each ceremony. The McDonough Marine Corps Detachment 1339 played “Taps,” the Henry County High School NJROTC presented the colors and all parties involved saluted the flag as local residents looked on.

  David Andrews, who is a member of the Patriot Guard, originally started the process of organizing this yearly event, said this effort was simply to remember all who were involved in 9/11.

The Henry County High School NJROTC presents the colors with Master Chief Petty Officer Melvin Smith and Air Force veteran John Helton (right).                                Photos by Alex Welch

  “This is not a mission of anything except Henry County to remember 9/11. It’s not an organized event by any particular group,” said Andrews.

  John Helton, an Air Force veteran who served for 27 years, was the special guest for the morning. Helton flew B-29 bombers in WWII, and he also fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He said it was one of the best ceremonies he’s seen.

  Master Chief Petty Officer Melvin Smith, who leads the Henry County High School NJROTC, said his group has been coming to the event for three years.

  “I’m very proud of these children and the dedication and patriotism they display,” said Smith.



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