NCC memorial honors first responders
BY AMELIA HARPER
Thursday, September 12, 2019
As part of its annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, Nash Community College held a First Responder Memorial Wall Dedication Ceremony on Wednesday at the Continuing Education and Public Services Building on the college campus.
The ceremony began with Heather Perry, an assistant registrar at Nash Community College, singing a powerful rendition of the National Anthem followed by an invocation from Mike Latham, vice president of student services for Nash Community College.
Tiffany Boswell, president of the college’s Student Government Association, then introduced the keynote speaker, Rocky Mount Fire Chief Corey Mercer. Mercer spoke of the sacrifice made 18 years ago on 9/11 in 2001. He also spoke about the resilience of Americans in surviving such a tragic event.
“We will never get back the lives we lost on that day or the lives of Americans that made the ultimate sacrifice in the wars that followed,” Mercer said. “Yet today it is worth remembering what has not changed. Our character as a nation has not changed. Our character as a community has not changed. Most importantly, our faith in God and each other has not changed.”
Bill Carver, outgoing president of Nash Community College, spoke about the First Responder Memorial Wall that was publicly presented and dedicated for the first time on Wednesday.
“I think this is a fitting commemorative place,” Carver said. “Our local heroes are here with us today and I want to thank those. Sometimes we forget about those who go into harm’s way every day. Thank you so much for your willingness to keep us safe, protect us, comfort us and come to our aid.”
The new wall display contains three large etched black granite slabs. One honors “helping hands” with the image of a paramedic, a firefighter and a law enforcement officer working together. Another slab honors “healing hands” with the image of a paramedic working with a patient.
The central slab reads: “When lives and property are threatened and minutes matter, community college graduates answer the call responding to the crisis, assisting with the aftermath and providing comfort.” This statement is placed beneath the Nash Community College seal.
The wall and accompanying memorial bricks and benches are visible from the Sunset Road entrance to the Continuing Education and Public Services Building.
“This took money and it took vision,” Carver said. “It took many, many friends who are here today. It is private citizens who made the spot where we stand possible. I know you are going to be proud of this for many years to come.”
In related news, Rocky Mount Mayor David Combs issued a statement Wednesday proclaiming Sept. 11, 2019, as Patriot Day in the city of Rocky Mount. In the proclamation, Combs called on “all citizens of the city of Rocky Mount to join in this observance and observe, in memory and honor, the sacrifices made as a result of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.”