September 15, 2015 --
James C. Carroll III, commanding officer, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany,
joined members of the community, both young and old, military members, veterans,
first responders and local dignitaries to pay tribute to those who lost their
lives during the tragic events of 9/11.
The Patriots Field of Flags is an annual event sponsored
by American Legion Post 30 and for the 14th year, was held in front
of the Albany Mall, Sept. 11.
a crowded field between two small lakes surrounded by 850 flags, stood 146
small hand-made crosses that represented the number of lives lost in the line
of duty by military service members from Dougherty and Lee counties since
World War I. A small ceremony posthumously honoring Bill Brooks, maker of the
crosses, was held and a flag was presented to his father, Ray Brooks.
The Field of Flags event also featured members of the
Westover High School Band for the first time, who played a medley of patriotic
music as a prelude and during the ceremony, presentation of colors by the
Westover High School Marine Corps Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets
and a bagpipe selection played by retired Marine Col. Dan Gillan.
Following a proclamation by Mayor of Albany Dorothy
Hubbard and remarks from Dougherty County Commission Chairman Chris Cohilas and
other dignitaries, Carroll took to the podium as the keynote speaker.
“The torch of freedom has been passed by those we honor here
today and we are charged with transferring that to our future service men and
women and all those (who) go forward in the name of our flag and for our
freedoms,” he said. “None of us can truly repay any one of them, but we can
honor them and celebrate them here this evening.
“Today, as we reflect, my hope is that with each year
that passes, and today marks 14 years since the grave events of September 11,
2011, with each ceremony you attend and with every memory of the past 14 years
that sparks emotion, each of us grows and learn from those events and
experiences,” he added. “That learning and growing is what will keep us at the
forefront and ready in the future.”
Carroll concluded, “As a Marine, I am charged with being
one of the nation’s most ready when she is least ready. In my 30 years of being
in the Marine Corps, I have never known a community that supports its military
and first responders the way this community does. Together we can win to the end.”
Hubbard said, “It was a wonderful event and an opportunity
to pay respects to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice. These flags are
beautiful and I’m grateful to the American Legion for putting on this event. I
also enjoyed hearing from the base commander and thank him and the other first
responders for their service to our country.”
Marvin Mixon, program coordinator, said “Tonight’s event
was to remember those men and women who sacrificed for our country since 2001. A
lot of people and their families have given up a lot and we cannot forget that
as a nation. The turnout was great and we had a lot of volunteers, both young
and old, to help put up the flags and put this event together. We greatly
appreciate (Col. Carroll) for coming out to speak because we wanted the
community to see and know who he is. That connection is very important.”