News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- It was a day to look back at the Augusta Remembrance Ceremony, but it was also a day to look to the future and the young men and women standing ready to defend our country.
The sound of a bell rang out across the Augusta Common, marking the moment at 10:05 a.m. on September 11th, 2001, when the South World Trade Center came crashing to the ground.
It's a moment the world will always remember.
"Never forget those sacrifices, but never forget why. It was a regular day, they got up just like you did. They had breakfast, they took their kids to school and the world changed," said Augusta City Administrator Fred Russell.
"We pay tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11, and we remember the remarkable way so many rose up in unity and service following the attacks," said U.S. Attorney Ed Tarver.
Nearly 3,000 people died -- hundreds of them firefighters, police officers and first responders.
"We need to be proud of this country, we need to be proud of the sacrifices that people have made. We also need to make sure they don't go for naught. In each day when we go to sleep, we leave a better world than we found it when we woke up," Russell said.
On this day of looking back, we usher in a new generation of soldiers. Dozens of young recruits took their oath of enlistment, officially joining the Army.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the newest soldiers of the United States Armed Forces," announced Col. Robert Barker, garrison commander at Fort Gordon.
"It's more of pride than anything to know that so many people have stepped in my same shoes and did the exact same thing, taken the same oath to provide for the country," explained 22-year-old Randy Johnson of Augusta moments after joining the Army.
"It's beyond words. It's very honoring that I have the privilege to stand here on the day that so many lost their lives," said new Army soldier 25-year-old Natasha Lemos.
"To watch the new soldiers swear in, truly a feeling of pride overcame me," said Augusta Fire Department Chief Chris James.
"The sacrificed their lives and we're making the same sacrifice," Lemos said.
The young men and women received a standing ovation from the crowd for their oath to serve our country. Keep in mind here, most of them were just children, some as young as 7 or 8 years old, when America came under attack in 2001.