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Countians stand united at courthouse

It was short and solemn.

This morning on the Lawrence County Courthouse lawn,

a small crowd gathered around the flag pole

and stood united as Americans.

The memorial service was held to observe the one-year anniversary of the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil.

"We stood in shock at what had occurred that day," First Baptist Church Pastor Dennis Strawn reflected in his prayer. "Many went to work that day and didn't know they wouldn't get to go home."

He also noted that amongst the sorrow and shock, there were those who stood tall and showed courage that is so a part of the American spirit.

"There were firefighters and police officers who went into danger so others could get out of it," Strawn prayed.

Strawn prayed that Americans unite as a nation. He prayed also for our national leaders, and for the Armed Forces who are fighting the war in Afghanistan.

"If one thing is clear from last year," Strawn prayed, "it's that life is fragile. But nothing can separate us from God."

Standing in the small crowd were Bill Reis, of Ironton, and his wife Melinda. Reis is a former US Marine. Both of them were dressed in red, white and blue and were carrying flags.

"It's a disgrace that people such as that caused such a catastrophe," Bill Reis said. I hope nothing like that ever happens again."

"I think America is pulling together," Melinda Reis said. She said she was impressed when she watched on television the stories of the young wives who lost their husbands in the tragedies Some of them have had children since then. "But they've had the courage to go on. The grace of God has brought so many though."

'It's something we don't ever want to experience again in our homeland," Tyna McCown, of Ironton, said.

"For the younger generation, this exceeds anything that has ever happened on our soil. It leaves emotions beyond words." McCown also spoke of America pulling together after the tragedy.

At 8:45, the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center, Lawrence County Common Pleas Judge Frank McCown and Juvenile Probate Judge David Payne led the assembly in the Pledge of Allegiance.

The ceremony began with Martin Smith playing the national anthem, and ended with Angie Curtiss singing "God Bless the USA." Teresa Moore/The Ironton Tribune