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Our Finest Hour

Photo of moving 9/11 tribute really brings it home
Alcoa senior QuayVaughn Lewis-McCollum carries an American flag onto the field Friday night to mark the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Photo by Jolanda Jansma

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

Every now and then, something comes along and stops you in your tracks.

The above photograph is one of those moments.

Blount Press Row Photo Editor Jolanda Jansma took it as the Alcoa High School football team took the field Friday night.

Friday was the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. Representatives of the armed forces stood with the band at midfield during the playing of the national anthem. The Tornadoes then ran onto the field.

Not everyone, yours truly included, glimpsed Alcoa senior QuayVaughn Lewis-McCollum leading his teammates through the smoke and onto the gridiron, the Stars and Stripes flying proudly above his helmet — but Jolanda did.

In a flash she got the shot. When we pulled it up minutes ago, right in the middle of working on our coverage of Friday’s games, we had to stop. We wanted you to see this right away.

The memories of 14 years ago — all the heroism of firemen, policemen and first responders, all the volunteers that descended on New York, Washington and Pennsylvania to help, all the servicemen and servicewomen who’ve sacrificed so much since – tell a story of America in one of our finest hours.

It’s something we as a nation should never forget.

Thanks, Jolanda.

Great Job.

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