9/11 remembered by hundreds

Friday, September 14, 2012

By Clint Confehr

Senior Staff Writer

Nearly 500 people on Tuesday remembered the 9/11 terrorist attacks as area residents gathered in Rock Creek Park, where a recording of "Have You Forgotten?" was played before speakers addressed the audience.

"We can never forget what happened 11 years ago today," said Wayne Coomes, a retired Marine colonel and former police chief here. A 21-gun salute was fired and taps were played for "our dearly departed," he said.

The program was sponsored by Billy Spivey, the Republican candidate for Tennessee's 92nd District House seat, who said the 9/11 terrorists "picked the wrong fight with the wrong people." Spivey, a veteran of the first Gulf War, said he lost his favorite uncle to the war in Vietnam and was inspired by the Marine who guarded his uncle's body for his return. The terrorist attacks made America stronger, Spivey said.

Spivey refrained from making a political speech, but did mention his candidacy.

Spivey's brother, Bobby, a Nashville talent agent, brought entertainers Billy Dean and Sam Tate to Lewisburg. Dean's song "Billy the Kid" is favored by the House candidate, who'd like it for his campaign song. Songwriter Sam Tate performed with Dean. Tate's work includes Chely Wright's "Shut Up and Drive," Rodney Atkins' "If You're Going Through Hell," Reba McIntyre's "Somebody" and Emerson Drive's "Moments."

"The ceremony was great, the music was great and the humor was great," said disabled Navy veteran Tony Furness, 52, of School Street.

Among a dozen dignitaries on the park stage was Barbara Blackmore, chair of Lewisburg-based Moms on a Mission, who read the names of 12 county residents who are deployed in war zones. They are among hundreds from here who are on active duty.

Her son, Clifford, is at Fort Bragg, N.C., after a one-year tour of duty in Afghanistan. Clifford and his wife, Carmen, have provided Barbara a third grandchild. Barbara's not sure when Clifford 's family will visit Lewisburg again.