A sign at the parking booth at Patriots Point on Sunday morning said "Never Forget."
That was the watchword around the Lowcountry, as it was across America. Hundreds in the Charleston area gathered to remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, or in the wars that followed.
At Patriots Point in Mount
Pleasant, more than 500 people boarded the aircraft carrier Yorktown for a ceremony that included the reading of 9,168 names, including nearly 3,000 who died on 9/11 and more than 6,000 killed in Iraq and Afghanistan since then.
In Summerville, about 250 gathered at Pinewood Preparatory School for a 9/11 Tribute Concert centered on the theme of "Resilience," the ability to recover from adversity. Then they went out into the school's Liberty Garden to touch a medallion forged from metal salvaged from the twisted ruins of the World Trade Center.
In downtown Charleston, an Interfaith Gathering for Peace filled the Sottile Theatre.
On Charleston's East Side, about 150 people gathered for a 9/11 remembrance service that included prayers for America to come back to God, and a kickoff for a fund drive for a Garden of Forgiveness at the park at Columbus and America streets.
The message aboard the Yorktown was that each of the 9,168 names that was read represents a person, each with a story and connections that reach to the Lowcountry.
"I think it's important to remember that there are fathers, mothers, children attached to every single one of these names," said Tim Callanan, who started the ceremony at Patriots Point reading the names of 30 former co-workers he lost in the attack on the World Trade Center "They are etched in my head, and I see their faces. It's important that people realize that even after 10 years, these anniversaries are extremely painful for them."
Callanan, a Berkeley County Council member and chairman of the county's Republican Party, worked for Cantor Fitzgerald, a financial services company in one of the towers, until a year before the attacks.
About 250 volunteers -- primarily from area Scout troops, military branches and ROTC units -- read the names. It took more three hours to read them all, even with two microphones going at once on the stage in the hangar just inside the entrance.
Mark Smith, a Columbia fireman and Navy reservist who read some names, knew some of the Brooklyn firemen who died that day.
"When something like that happens, people run out, but we're running in to help," Smith said. "It puts things in perspective. We knew if we had been there, that would have been us inside with them."
At Pinewood, the medallion says "God Bless America" and "United We Stand." It's mounted on a waist-high pedestal of brick and mortar. Hardly a person could walk by without touching it, as if seeking a physical connection with those who died under the tons of steel.
The service on Charleston's East Side focused on forgiveness.
"We're here to concentrate on forgiveness," said the Rev. Gordon Cashwell, pastor of Hope Assembly of God on King Street.
The city of Charleston donated a tract for the garden at Mall Park, but private money would be needed to turn it into a place where people can think about how to forgive people who have wronged them, Cashwell said.
Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.
For more stories, photos and video from local and national commemorations, Remembering 911.