This afternoon, I covered an event that was two ceremonies in one — a ribbon-cutting, with an upbeat sense of accomplishment, and a dedication, with a somber sense of loss.
The Tennessee Fallen Firefighter Memorial was opened today on the grounds of the Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy here in Bedford County. The memorial bears the names of 197 Tennessee firefighters who died in the line of duty. There was a ceremony to celebrate the completion of the project. That ribbon-cutting was followed by a memorial service at which the names of all 197 firefighters were read, as family members or colleagues placed roses on the memorial plaques. It was quite moving. The bell seen here (which is not a permanent part of the memorial) was rung in three bursts of five, a traditional fire signal, symbolizing the fact that the fallen have gone on to their eternal reward.
This is actually just Phase I; they hope to eventually put some sort of statue about where the bell is standing in this photo.
I’ll have a story about the event in this Sunday’s newspaper, and then a photo page about it next Sunday.
I may not be blogging much for the next 36 hours or so.
I slept in this morning, because I have to put in a full afternoon of work, then cover a 5 p.m. meeting, then cover a 7 p.m. meeting (school board, which is usually a long one).
Tomorrow morning, we will rush to get the newspaper out earlier than normal so that several of us can go to Chattanooga for the Tennessee Press Association awards luncheon. I’ll be driving the Times-Gazette van.
As soon as I return from the TPA luncheon tomorrow afternoon, I will meet several of my fellow members of the Symphony in Shelbyville steering committee; we will carpool to Nashville for our annual wrap-up meeting, which will be held at Schermerhorn Symphony Center, and we will stay for that night’s summer festival concert.
Fortunately, I have nothing on the agenda for Saturday — except finishing up my sermon for Sunday at Mt. Lebanon UMC.
A week or two ago, when the Times-Gazette started our new beefed-up Sunday paper and our new destination pages, the decision was made to do half-page “house ads” to promote some of the new features. One featured the face of Sadie Fowler, to promote the new Life & Leisure section; another featured Mary Reeves, to promote her column on the “Generations” page. There was also a third, promoting the fellow who now writes a column on our technology page.
In addition to the half-page ads, little tent cards featuring miniature versions of the ads are now sitting on top of our vending machines throughout Bedford County.
I was not particularly happy about my inclusion as that third tent card. I felt that the features for which Sadie and Mary were being promoted were much more personal — much more about them — and that my technology column may turn out to be nothing special. But the powers that be decided otherwise.
Anyway, thanks to the play, my portrait on those ads and tent cards is now out-of-date:
I will almost certainly grow back the goatee this summer — probably right after the play, although I may start with the moustache and wait until after the mission trip to grow the goatee so that I will match my passport photo.
I don’t guess I had to shave for another week or so, but I felt like getting it over with.
I got a call Wednesday from the managing editor (though I didn’t realize his title when I was on the phone with him) of the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, asking me to serve on a panel later this month at an Online News Association workshop in Nashville. I will be one of the panelists for the 2:30 p.m. session entitled “The Evolving Newsroom.” I don’t know exactly whom the other panelists are going to be, but one will be from a larger metro paper and the other will be from a TV station. Hopefully, they’ll update the web page with all of our names once everyone is confirmed.
Anyway, Scott Sines from the Commercial Appeal was quite complimentary of our web site.