Two memorial events are planned Saturday in Carthage to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Walk of Remembrance
The Carthage Fire Department is planning a walk of remembrance for 9/11 this year.
“We created it because this is the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, and we created this event to honor those folks, first responders and civilians that lost their life today 20 years ago, Sept. 11,” Carthage Fire Marshal Randy Lietke said.
Everyone is free to join. Walkers will meet at 9:30 a.m. on the Panola County Courthouse lawn on Saturday, Sept. 11. State Rep. Chris Paddie (R-Marshall) will be there if his schedule allows it to say a few words.
The fire department will sound a siren to signify when the first tower, the south tower, fell, and that’s when they’ll begin the two-mile walk from the courthouse to Bulldog Stadium.
“That’s going to start at 9:59, that was when the south tower collapsed. We’re going to begin the walk, and we’re going to walk from the courthouse up Sycamore Street to West Panola, go down West Panola, we’re going to walk all the way to the high school, Bulldog Stadium,” Liedtke said.
Different civic organizations are sponsoring water stops along the way. Once they reach the stadium, people will be invited to walk up and down 343 stadium steps to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their life that day.
Organizers plan to have name tags printed out and put on lanyards for each of the firefighters who died that day. These will be passed out to participants to wear during the walk in remembrance of each specific person.
“It’s open to everyone, not just firefighters,” Lietke said. “We have firefighters, we have police officers, law enforcement, sheriff. Everybody’s invited. Citizens are invited, encouraged. We would like a good turn out, just something that we can do that we can show as a community event that we can show that our community hasn’t forgotten what happened 20 years ago on 9/11. We encourage individuals, organizations, church groups, anyone that would like to participate. We would love to have a whole bunch of folks.”
People are invited to participate as much or as little as they would like — if somebody only wants to walk part of the way, that’s fine. If somebody wants to go to the stadium and then not do the stair climb, that’s fine too. People are invited to stand along the side of the road and hold a flag as others walk too.
“In the past, several of us have participated, just the individual firefighters, in different stair climbs or walks that we would participate with a large group. So several of us talked about it this year, or leading up to this year, we just thought that it would be a cool deal to put this before our community that gives everyone a chance to participate,” Lietke said.
“We’ll have firefighters that some will be wearing full PPE gear as did the firefighters as they responded to the Trade Center,” Liedtke later added. “That’s their choice, they can choose to honor, wear whatever they want to to honor (them).”
There will also be police officers present to honor the officers lost that day, Lietke said.
“If I’ve got this correct, along with the 343 firefighters, there were also 37 port authority police officers, 23 NYPD officers, eight EMTs and one New York fire patrol officer that also lost their lives on that day in addition to the 343 FDNY members,” he said.
Arthur Lorenzo’s annual 9/11 memorial is coming back to Carthage this year, taking place Saturday, Sept. 11 at the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.
The event runs 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and includes free admission, free food and free drinks.
“There will be great food, wonderful speakers, singers, choirs, and we will have on display actual pieces of the World Trade Center, magazines, newspapers, souvenirs and uncut/unedited live news videos taken on 9/11,” Lorenzo said in his announcement.
Lorenzo had previously moved the event to Longview last year, to a space that better allowed COVID precautions. He also hosted the 2019 event in Longview.