On September 11 at 0820 our commander and the rest of the post officers were getting a bit nervous, as the ceremony was scheduled for 0830 and no one had shown up yet. Then City Councilmen Ret. Col. John House (a member of Columbus Post 333) arrived with a proclamation from the city that he would read and give a few remarks about the importance of ceremonies like this. Then the county sheriff arrived; as we were greeting her, she pointed out that the chief of police was pulling up. Next, Columbus Fire Station 1 arrived with the deputy fire chief pulling in right behind them. The public started to arrive as two command units with several patrol and motor units of the Columbus Police Department pulled in. A representative from the Marshall Office arrived along with several soldiers from the 1st Bn 1st STAB commanded by LTC Taylor from Fort Benning, as well as members of Post 135 who came across the river from Phenix City, Ala. A crew from a local television station (WTVM) also arrived. The police, fire and military were asked if they would like to participate in the ceremony with Post 35; all jumped at the chance. We took two soldiers and added them to the flag detail, The fire chief had Engine 1 pull up to one side of the flagpole, and the police chief had a command unit pull up on the other side, then had some of the patrol and motor units pull in behind the chairs that had been set up. A bus from the Magnolia Manor arrived with their resident veterans on board.
At 0835 our ceremony began with an invocation from the sheriff department chaplain, followed by the reading of the City of Columbus’ proclamation and remarks from Councilman House. At 0845 (the time when the first tower was struck) two Legionnaires started to lower the colors, Piper Mr. Jonathan Leak started to play "Amazing Grace," and all emergency units turned on their red and blue lights as a salute to the fallen first responders of that day. After the colors were lowered, they were passed to the soldiers of 1st Bn 1st STAB as a symbolic gesture of the responsibility of protecting this nation being passed from the old guard to the new.
At the conclusion of the ceremony all were invited into Post 35's lounge for some refreshments. This is when several firefighters, police officers and EMS personnel approached us to thank us for allowing them to participate in the ceremony.