It will be a day in Augusta for patriotism, remembrance and recognition - a day for church bells to toll and sirens to sound.
"We are proposing that at the time of the attack - 8:46 a.m. - all of Augusta would come to a halt for a moment of recognition and remembrance," said former U.S. Rep. Doug Barnard, chairman of a committee organizing Augusta's Patriot Day effort.
Patriot Day in Augusta will observe the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington. The name Patriot Day, Mr. Barnard said, came from a proclamation signed by President Bush in December.
Mayor Bob Young came up with the idea of an Augusta observance.
"If you look back on Sept. 11, 2001, people were looking for ways to reach out and embrace each other," Mr. Young said. "Having been through that experience, it became obvious to me that with the one-year anniversary people would be looking to do that again."
Mr. Young said the day is planned as a "community observance."
"We want the community to come together for solidarity," he said.
Mr. Barnard said officials are asking churches to ring their bells at 8:46 a.m. Sept. 11. He said police and fire sirens throughout the Augusta area will sound for one minute at the same time.
Officials also are asking that residents fly their American flags at home.
School systems in the area will have their own observances.
"Some of the schools are going to have an assembly out at the flagpole that morning," Mr. Barnard said.
As part of the day's observances, a joint civic club meeting with a buffet lunch will be offered at noon at Bell Auditorium. Mr. Barnard said the meeting will be open to the public. Tickets can be obtained at the Augusta Chamber of Commerce for $15, but people without tickets will be allowed to stand in the balcony to observe the meeting.
The keynote speaker will be retired Maj. Gen. Perry Smith. The topic will be remembrance and recognition.
"During the meeting, we will recognize individuals whose lives were directly affected by 9/11," Mr. Barnard said. "We'll also recognize those who performed heroism on that day."
At 7 p.m., a free concert will be performed at the Jessye Norman Amphitheater on Riverwalk Augusta. The Fort Gordon Signal Corps band will perform, ending the ceremony with the playing of taps.
"We just want to let the world know that Augusta is a very patriotic community," Mr. Barnard said.
The Augusta Chronicle is giving residents an opportunity to share their thoughts about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and how the tragedy affected their lives in an online forum on our Web site. The forum will include questions such as: Did you lose a friend or relative that day? What have you done differently since the attacks? How do you feel about air travel? Is life back to normal? We invite you to talk to us and to one another through augustachronicle.com/forums. Some comments will be selected to appear in a special section of The Chronicle on Sept. 11.
Reach Preston Sparks at (706) 828-3904.
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