During most any other time, it would have been rude to talk over Ashley Tye as he spoke to a crowd about the mortal sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001.
But they had to keep talking. And those who could lifted their heads but didn’t turn their radios down. They couldn’t.
There was a deadly storm was gunning for Valdosta, right on the Georgia-Florida line, and although it was the 16th anniversary of 9/11, officials in the Lowndes County emergency operations center had to keep working.
Many of them hadn’t slept since the county activated the center at noon.
Lowndes spokeswoman Paige Dukes explained that the fire department usually holds a ceremony with a wreath to honor those lost in the terrorist attack, but that wasn’t happening with a county in crisis facing Tropical Storm Irma winds gusting at 50 mph, so they held a makeshift event in the emergency center.
There was no time for the usual moment of silence at 8:46 p.m, the minute a plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center.
“Y’all keep working. I know you can’t stop,” started Tye, head of county emergency services. “ ... We did not want the day to go by without remembering.”
He spoke in front of the wreath, on an easel next to a radar map, about honoring the dead and their sacrifice.
The 2017 Lowndes County 9/11 memorial service lasted 41 seconds.