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Isles Remembers 9/11

By SARAH LUNDGREN and MICHAEL HALL, The Brunswick News

Sep 12, 2013

Annette Mallard wanted to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States in a way a Glynn County beach lifeguard could, one grain of sand at a time.

Wednesday morning she began crafting a sand sculpture fashioned after the twin towers of the World Trade Center that beachgoers would see throughout the day at the Old Coast Guard Station beach.

The sculpture included two small American flags and raised lettering made of sand, spelling out USA and 9-11.

By the time she returned from her lunch break with her colleague, Laura Ginn, to put the finishing touches on her creation, it had already become a hit.

"The island is lit up about that sand castle I built this morning," Mallard said Wednesday afternoon. "Posts are all over Facebook from runners who came across it."

Mallard was one of many in Glynn County who remembered in some special way the terrorists' airliner attacks in New York City and at the Pentagon, as well as the crash of a fourth jetliner in a field near Shanksville, Pa.

As fog rose Wednesday morning above the campus of College of Coastal Georgia, students, staff and others gathered around the flagpole. They bowed their heads as they observed a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., remembering the exact moment the first plane struck the World Trade Center, one of the most shocking events in America's history.

The college Psychology Club sponsored the ceremony to give students a chance to reflect and honor the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who perished that day, as well as those that fought and continue to fight for the nation.

Among the speakers was Brunswick Mayor Bryan Thompson, who reminded people how far the nation has come the past dozen years.

"What happened shook the foundations of our country, but it did something else," he said. "For several weeks after that, everyone was equal, all lines of separation disappeared. We were all Americans, in our own way, poised and ready to do whatever we needed to do," Thompson said.

"That was a profound feeling of realization. It showed that we, as a people, we were all one. We remain one to this day."

A red, white and blue banner bearing signatures of students and sentiments such as "Never forget" and "God Bless America" was on display in the student center throughout the day. The Psychology Club is hoping to send it to the 9/11 Memorial or to service members who helped that day.

At Glynn County Fire Station No. 1, which houses the department's administrative headquarters, Deputy Fire Chief Ray Marat spoke during a ceremony honoring the fallen heroes who responded to the tragedy.

For Marat, watching from Glynn County and not being able to do anything was difficult.

"Here, as we watched, we talked about the challenges of getting fire hoses, tools, air packs and personnel to the affected floors while evacuating the building," Marat said of the World Trade Center. "Obviously, we do not have the expertise in high-rise fires that New York has, but even with the multi-story buildings we have locally, we could see how this was a major obstacle to overcome."

He pointed to a section of I-beam the fire department has on display in the lobby at its headquarters on Old Jesup Road.

"This I-beam came from the mountain of rubble that the firefighters raised the American flag over after the collapse, in honor of those who were lost," Marat said.

Raising the flag displayed the pride of the nation and the public safety personnel's commitment to those they're sworn to protect, he added.

Students at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center at Brunswick got a glimpse of a stuffed bunny that belonged to 2-year-old Christine Lee Hanson, the youngest victim of the Sept. 11 attacks. Christine was on American Airlines Flight 175, on her way to Disneyland, with her mother and father when the plane was hijacked and flown into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, killing all three.

The bunny was donated by Hanson's grandfather.

"Christine Lee was love personified," wrote her grandfather, Lee Hanson in a letter accompanying the donation of the stuffed rabbit to the center's memorial.

"The students and staff of the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers are humbled by this thoughtful donation," said FLETC Director Connie Patrick in a prepared statement. "We will keep Christine's memory and her favorite rabbit as a reminder of why we are here each and every day."

* Reporter Sarah Lundgren writes about education and other local topics. Contact her at slundgren@thebrunswick news.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 322. Reporter Michael Hall writes about public safety, environment and other local topics. Contact him at mhall@thebrunswicknews.com, on Facebook or at 265-8320, ext. 320.

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