The victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks will be honored and remembered Thursday throughout Forsyth County.
On the seven-year anniversary, known as Patriot Day, many civic and community leaders, employees and public safety officials will gather at Central Park for the annual Patriot Day event.
The event will take place at the Liberty Garden, planted shortly after 9/11. In addition to a performance by Central Forsyth High School's Maskers drama group, several guest speakers will help honor fallen New York City firefighters and civilians.
"It's important that we never forget the loss of the 343 firefighters," said Forsyth County Fire Chief Danny Bowman.
"The ceremony we're having is a remembrance of them, a remembrance of the families they left behind, and of course, the citizens who tragically died that day."
Also honoring firefighters is Coal Mountain Elementary School, which is holding an appreciation luncheon for members of the county's fire and sheriff's departments.
The event is not open to the public, but it is open to county public servants.
The annual meal "teaches our students to remember what public safety is really about," said Sheriff's Lt. Col. Gene Moss.
"It teaches them we do a lot to protect property and lives, which was displayed during 9/11," Moss said. "I went last year and it was a great event. There was a lot of participation and interaction between students and law enforcement and fire personnel."
Secretary of State Karen Handel will make the Forsyth-Cumming Optimist Club's Sept. 11 meeting the biggest of the year. The event, for which Handel is the guest speaker, will be held at the Polo Golf & Country Club.
Matt Carrothers, spokesman for Handel, said she looks forward to addressing the club.
"She will brief the members on the latest activities in her agency's core divisions, acknowledge the significance of Sept. 11 and stress the importance of civic involvement and patriotism in shaping and strengthening our communities," he said.