DOBSON — Amazing Grace played on bagpipes and the lights of fire, rescue and police vehicles were all that was needed to remember another milestone in American history at the second annual Dobson 9/11 parade. This parade was not about showmanship. It was about respect and honor.
It was obvious Saturday the moment the large collection of vehicles left the Surry Central High School parking lot this was a somber, quiet parade to commemorate and not celebrate. It recalled the sacrifices due to terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and elsewhere. Citizens came out of their homes and stood at the side of the street to watch. Many saluted. There were some, obviously veterans, that stood at parade rest, heads bowed.
The centerpiece of the parade was a dramatic re-enacted by local firefighters who posed raising the American flag that jutted out from a collection of twisted steel and concrete lit by red lights underneath. A smoke machine provided fog to further accent the scene on the flatbed trailer, recalling the iconic image of firefighters raising the flag among the wreckage of the trade center.
According to parade spokesman Doug Shephard last year’s event was successful and parade planners agreed to re-stage the commemoration at various anniversary dates of the tragedy in the future. Public outcry soon convinced the Central Surry Volunteer Fire Department they needed to hold the parade again this year.
Shephard said the event included more than 100 vehicles that traveled the route from Surry Central north on Main Street toward Draughn’s Auto Parts. Last year’s event was held during the daytime.
“We really had not intended to have this parade again this year,” explained Shephard. “We had such an outpouring of interest we decided to get geared up for it.”
The Mount Airy Police and Fire Department Honor Guard also participated in the parade as well as law enforcement vehicles and rescue and fire departments from areas including Allegheny, Ashe, Forsyth, Stokes, Surry, and Yadkin counties as well as the city of Elkin and Grayson County, Va.
“This has gotten bigger,” added Shephard. “We wanted the honor guard in their dress blues to really set the tone and standard for the parade. We want it to remain a calm, solid, quiet event because this is to remember. There are no sirens. We dare to be different with this parade.”
“Every generation has its defining moment,” continued Shephard. “For us 9/11 is one of those dates you don’t forget. It is key for us to have something to remember 9/11 with.”
He added that an additional realization for them is the number of veterans who have returned home and will be watching the parade. Shephard, like many other fire and law enforcement personnel have ties to the military. He said it is important that they know we appreciate them keeping us all safe.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 719-1952.