With flags and music, the Grand Strand remembers 9/11

On the Grand Strand, many people observed the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks Tuesday by reaching out to service members overseas and honoring heroes in their hometowns.

The day began with a tribute that's simple, but moving in its own way. Veterans and service club members stood on highway overpasses holding flags and waving at cars.

It's just a simple show of patriotism, with drivers honking their horns in support.

"I think it means that they're proud that we're here, I think it means they're glad we're reminding them of 9/11, and it's something that we should never forget," said Charles Stuby, a member of the Myrtle Beach chapter of the veterans group Rolling Thunder.

On the Coastal Carolina University campus, a student activities group wrote letters to service members overseas.

"I said just thank you for everything, please stay safe, please make it home in one piece, I'm praying for you," said freshman Eden

Halevy about the letter she wrote.

Other students made pledges to do some simple little act of kindness on this day - smile at a stranger, thank a soldier - because... well, just because.

"Focus on the positive end of it, that's more of a better message to send out," said sophomore Ricky Treacy. "It's difficult to do when you remember what happened (on 9/11), but I think keeping an optimistic point of view is a good, important way to go through life."

Members of Coastal Carolina Shields, a local group of retired police officers, held a memorial in Myrtle Beach for those public service officials who died on 9/11, keeping in mind that the events of that day continue to resonate around the world.

"I think it's something that democratic countries keep alive because they know that freedom is not free, and there are evildoers out there that will try to destroy democracy," said the group's president, Dennis Cangelosi.

In Murrells Inlet, for the 11th year, Dead Dog Saloon held its annual tribute to local firefighters, police and paramedics.

It was a day of food, music and camaraderie, laced with a message of honoring the victims of the terrorist attacks 11 years ago.

If there was any question about what is truly the appropriate way to remember 9/11, the firefighters who attended the Murrells Inlet tribute said that kind of event is pretty close to being the answer: honoring those who put their lives on the line every day.

"A good way to remember not in a somber way, but in a good way, the lives of all those people, the family people, the firefighters, all those people who lost their lives," said Gary Mocarski, a fire inspector with Murrells Inlet/Garden City Fire-Rescue.

So observing the anniversary of 9/11 need not carry any deep political thought. It just has to say thank you, and we will never forget.

"We're not so much celebrating their death as celebrating their life," said Mocarski.