20 Years Later, Remembering 9/11 - TribPapers
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20 Years Later, Remembering 9/11

Some of the crowd at the 9/11 event in Weaverville.

Weaverville – On the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, more than 125 people gathered at Lake Louise in Weaverville to remember those who lost their lives. 

Guest speaker at the event, Father Orion Davis, said the Saturday morning event in Weaverville resembled that fateful day in 2001 as it was also a clear day with beautiful blue skies. “This day looks just exactly like that day did up there,” Davis, who now lives in Haywood County, was then living in New York. Meeting with a group of clergy on the front porch of a home, Father Davis got the news. A plane had flown into one of the World Trade Center’s twin towers. Soon after, they received the horrific update: a second plane crashing into the second building. The meeting broke up with the clerics returning to their homes or churches. 

He then recounted of the chaos. People desperately trying to get information about what was going on. “Nobody knew what was happening.” That’s when his secretary came in and told him one of the towers just fell. “You must have it wrong,” he told her. “The towers are not going to fall. That couldn’t happen, and then I went in and listened and it had.”

“All issues that began to happen: The unknown. We couldn’t reach people. The panic. Were there other planes? Were there other places? What was going to happen to us? What was happening to our friends, our parishioners, the people in the area?” All the while, they could see the smoke on the skyline from what would be known as Ground Zero. “It was one of the more horrendous moments of my ministry.”

Davis’s dark recounting turned to the unity that renewed in the days that followed 9/11, which he stated, “I pray that you will hold in your hearts. In 50 years of ministry, I have never known people to come so much together…to hug strangers. To reach out to anybody that was there regardless whether they knew them or not.”

Father Orion Davis. Photo by Clint Parker.

He recollected how people had a feeling of being able to overcome anything as Americans. “That’s who we are first and nothing’s going to stand in our way of being a proud nation and we’re going to recover from it.”

He then ushered his speech into the present moment. “We find ourselves today in another kind of assault that is even more puzzling and worldwide.” He hopes this crisis will also come with people dedicating themselves to “reaching out and understanding each other…to somehow realize that together, there’s nothing we can’t overcome.”

During the ceremony, Father Davis was preceded by the Reuter Center Singers with an invocation by Dr. Stuart Lampkin of the First Baptist Church and by Vice Mayor Doug Jackson, who welcomed attendees to the event.

His oratory presentation was followed by the Weaverville Fire Department’s performance of “Taps” or the “National Song of Remembrance.” Shortly afterwards, Howard Dusenbery played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes with a closing benediction by Dr. Lampkin.

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