ALPHARETTA, Ga. – “Where were you when the world stopped turning on that September day?”
Local radio personality and podcast host Cadillac Jack (real name William Choate) shared these words, originally written by Georgia native and country singer Alan Jackson, in Alpharetta Sept. 11 at the city’s 9/11 memorial service.
Produced by the Alpharetta Rotary Club, the service marked the 20th anniversary of the largest foreign terrorist attack on American soil. Dozens of attendees came to the Town Green to honor the lives lost and Alpharetta first responders.
Jack served as the emcee of the event which featured remarks from Alpharetta City Councilman John Hipes and Director of Public Safety John Robison.
In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Jack said, the true American spirit was revealed.
“As the workers untangled the debris, the American people went through a process of untangling the answers to challenging questions about how we would respond as a nation,” Jack said. “We had lost a little bit of our innocence but what we discovered is we were still capable of being a united nation.”
Jack led the assembled crowd in recognizing the daily efforts of Alpharetta first responders.
“Of all the sacrifices that we acknowledge, let us never forget the selflessness reflected in the oath that is taken by our firefighters and our police officers,” Jack said.
During his remarks, Robison talked about firefighter Capt. Patrick Brown who was in the North Tower that day, climbing up to the 35th floor. Robison said that as others were fleeing, Brown continued to climb up, saving lives along the way.
“It’s a perfect example of that old adage that when there’s chaos and destruction and evil as we saw that day, people run away from that,” Robison said. “And yet, first responders run toward it.”
Jack concluded by reminding attendees of their shared promise.
“Remember, 20 years ago you said you’d never forget,” Jack said.