Franklin County remembers April 27, 2011
April 27, 2011, was a day of destruction in Franklin County. April 27, 2016, was a day of remembrance and healing.
Several intentional memorial events were held last week, including a wreath-laying ceremony at the Franklin County Courthouse; a tolling of the bells at Phil Campbell Memorial Park; and a celebration and commemoration at Phil Campbell High School.
A solemn church bell rang 27 times that afternoon at park, commemorating the 27 lives lost. Although the event wasn’t an organized gathering, people joined together at the park, a few families here and there, as the bell tolled. Storm clouds held back just long enough for Phil Campbell to complete the tolling of the bells as planned. Mayor Steve Bell said ringing the bells was an important part of remembrance and healing for the town.
“Remembering that day five years ago – standing here listening to those bells – it reminds you of those who are gone,” Bell said.
At the evening memorial, Phil Campbell turned out en masse for music and speeches remembering the past and celebrating how far the town has come. It included a reading of Psalm 23; performance by the Northwest-Shoals Community College choir and Phil Campbell High School band; a second tolling of the bells; and a recounting of some of the growth and rebuilding that has taken place in Phil Campbell in the past five years.