Memorial set for Sept. 11

Teen group will host memorial in memory of 9/11 victims

MEMORIAL: To memorialize the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, the Mecosta County Teenage Republicans put out 2,977 small American flags in front of Morley Stanwood High School last year. This year, they are moving the ceremony to Big Rapids, near the city band shell. (Pioneer file photo)

BIG RAPIDS – Travis Williams, a senior at Morley Stanwood High School, hopes people never forget the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.

For the second year running, Williams and the rest of the Mecosta County Teenage Republicans will host a memorial ceremony beginning at 1 p.m. on Sept. 11 at the Big Rapids Band Shell behind Big Rapids Middle School.

A small American flag for each victim who perished in the Sept. 11 attacks – 2,977 in all – will be planted in the ground near the band shell.

“I remember being in computer class and being sent home (from school),” Williams recalled. “We want everybody to know how many lives were lost that day. It’s something you can never forget.”

Ten 3-by-5-foot flags will be displayed to recognize the 10th anniversary.

The 1 p.m. ceremony will be highlighted by a gun salute from the Big Rapids AMVETS and speeches from state Rep. Phil Potvin, of Cadillac; Brian Thiede, chair of the Mecosta County Republican Party; Chris London, vice chair of the Mecosta County Teenage Republicans; and Sarah Ledford, vice chair of the Michigan Republican Party’s Youth Committee.

Williams also will recount the event’s of the tragedy.

The ceremony will wrap up by 2 p.m. with a “memorial walk” to the Hemlock Park pavilion, where refreshments will be served. Pictures and quotes from Sept. 11 will be set up along the walk.

The Ferris State University College Republicans and Michigan Teenage Republicans are co-sponsoring the event.

Though the event is being sponsored by GOP groups, Williams said it will be a memorial for the victims – not a partisan rally.

“It’s open to the public. We invite everyone to come out,” he said.

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