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Residents reflect: One nation under God

By Staff
PRAYER SERVICE Nearly 1,000 East Mississippi residents filled the Lauderdale County Agri-Center on Monday night in a ceremony of prayer, patriotism and song. Photo by Marianne Todd/The Meridian Star
By Fredie Carmichael/The Meridian Star
Sept. 18, 2001
Meridian and Lauderdale County residents united to turn tears into prayers Monday night, almost a week after terrorists attacked New York and Washington.
Nearly 1,000 people attended an interdenominational prayer service under the partially-covered tin roof of the Lauderdale County Agri-Center. And many believed the service helped them deal with the tragedy.
The service was one of several that have taken place in Meridian since last week's terrorist attacks in which two commercial jets slammed into the World Trade Center in New York and another one slammed into the Pentagon near Washington
Area volunteer firefighters began planning the Monday night prayer service last week, their way of honoring firefighters who died in New York while trying to rescue people from the World Trade Center.
A spirit of unity was evident from the start of the service when Jimmie Smith, president of the Lauderdale County board of supervisors, invited John Robert Smith, mayor of Meridian, to the podium at the Agri-Center.
The two men embraced and then stood side-by-side. With one arm wrapped around each other, the mayor opened the service with prayer.
After six days of mourning the hundreds of people who died in the attacks, people who attended the prayer service said it's time for everyone to unite behind the country and its leaders.
Law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and emergency vehicles from the county and city surrounded the stage in the center of the dirt-covered main floor. When the service ended, many people left the stands and dropped to their hands and knees to pray.
Fredie Carmichael is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3228 or E-mail him at fcarmichael@themeridianstar.com.

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