Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

September 8, 2013

Patriot’s Day ceremony slated for 9/11 anniversary

By Janet Jacobs
Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — Corsicana’s 9/11 Patriot’s Day ceremony will take place starting at 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Freedom Flag Plaza at Bunert Park, just off East MLK in Corsicana. The event is designed to honor the first responders, police, firefighters and military men and women.

The featured speaker will be Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner, with District Attorney Lowell Thompson acting as master of ceremonies. Music will be provided by Curtis Sparks and Les Grayson.

Memorial flags will be presented in honor of James Sykes, former commander of the Corsicana Emergency Corps who died this past year, and Perry Calvin, a Navarro Mills Volunteer Fireman who was killed when he rushed to help at the West, Texas, explosion this past spring.

Remarks will be offered by Corsicana Mayor Chuck McClanahan, Ronny McGaha, assistant police chief; and Ron Franks, assistant fire chief.

“We have a good line-up,” said City Councilwoman Ruby Williams, who serves on the Freedom Flag committee with Ann Massey, Babbette Samuels, Emmaline Gonzalez, Vicky Prater, Bob O’Toole, Jim Basham, Faith Holt and Jan Libal.

One of the challenges of hosting a 9/11 ceremony is that early September is still just as hot as August, so it can’t be too long, Williams said. She predicted it would last about 40 to 45 minutes. It’s never gone to an hour, she said.

“We try to keep it within a time limit because we know time is precious and we have people who have to go to work,” she said. “We just want to let people remember the people who are our protectors. Our soldiers, firefighters, police and veterans, the people who have protected us in the past and those who are protecting us today.”

The group has been recognizing the anniversary for about nine or 10 years, according to Massey, who helped launch the local ceremony.

“We had 996 flags up in the park. It was a hot day and we put all 996 flags out. How impressive that was.”

She got the idea from a photo that was making its way through e-mail in about 2003 of a flag company that had put out 3,000 flags. At the time, Massey was on the Corsicana Beautiful campaign and putting out the flags was one of the projects they choose to make the city prettier, she said.

They ended up selling the small flag kits and used the money to help erect the huge flag pole and buy the large flags that now fly at Bunert, Massey said.

Since then, the group that came off that original beautification committee has put up four smaller flag poles, a plaza and most recently, gardens. Now, they’re seeking to put up a 9/11 memorial wall in black granite with a water feature.

“We hope to have that project finished in the next 12 months,” she said. “The community’s been wonderful in helping with these projects.”

People who want to contribute to the project can send donations to the Freedom Flag Committee in care of the Corsicana/Navarro County Chamber of Commerce, Massey said.

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Janet Jacobs may be reached via e-mail at jjacobs@corsicanadailysun.com. Want to “sound off” to this article? E-mail: Soundoff@corsicanadailysun.com