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On Saturday, Americans will mark the ninth anniversary of 9-11, the date in 2001 when terrorists attacked the United States using four hijacked planes.

Thousands were killed and injured in the attacks that took down the World Trade Center towers and heavily damaged the Pentagon. One plane went down in a Pennsylvania field when passengers on board fought back.

To mark the anniversary, AmVets Post 133 and Mineral Wells ISD are inviting the public to  9-11 Ceremony at the high school auditorium beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is free.

Keynote speaker will be humorist, author and Smith County Sheriff J.B. Smith. Smith oversees one of the largest jails in Texas, housing over 1,000 prisoners in a department of more than 355 personnel, over 100 vehicles and providing more than 3,000 meals a day, while managing an annual budget of over $27 million.

Smith was recently presented with the first ever “Excellence in Community Service” award by the National Chapter of The Daughters of the American Revolution. He serves on 11 boards of directors and was co-founder of the East Texas Crisis Center, which has become a safe haven for abused women and children.

On his ranch in Smith County, Smith has raised registered Longhorn cattle. He says his “menagerie contains over 15 horses, wild hogs, ticks, red bugs, armadillos and fire ants.”

Smith has been continuously elected Smith County sheriff since 1976. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas and is a graduate of the National FBI Academy. He is a licensed forensic hypnotist. He is a past president of the Sheriffs Association of Texas.

Smith has appeared on CBS’s “The Early Show” with Harry Smith and NBC’s “Today” with Matt Lauer. For over two years he was a regular on a nationally broadcast program on the Law Enforcement Television Network entitled “Corrections Digest.”

He has appeared on-stage twice at the Nugget in Reno, Nev., with Zig Ziglar and other nationally known speakers, and has also appeared at Diamond Jacks in Bossier, La. He is author of the book, “The Christmas Day Murders.”

Rick Bennett will deliver the invocation. Other speakers include District Attorney Mike Burns, Sheriff Ira Mercer, Police Chief Mike McAllester, Fire Chief Robin Allen, MWISD Superintendent Ronny Collins and Mineral Wells Mayor Mike Allen.

Saturday’s ceremony will honor the Palo Pinto County Sheriffs Department, Mineral Wells’ police and fire departments, Palo Pinto County constables, Texas Department of Public Safety, city and county emergency medical services, Palo Pinto County volunteer fire departments, Texas Department of Parks & Wildlife and the Brazos River Authority.                                                                                                                     

Bagpiper Jimmy Mitchell, of Forney, Texas, will perform, as will the Mineral Wells High School drumline and Travis Cadets. Also taking part will be the North Texas Honor Guard from Decatur, Texas, Boy Scouts of America troops 142 and 24, Longhorn Council, and Mineral Wells Cub Scouts Pack 24.

Finally, Meals On Wheels will provide dinner for those honored, including all 9-11 responders in attendance.

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