American flags hung at half mass throughout the Peach State Thursday as a constant reminder and symbol of one of the most tragic days in American history.
And in Thomasville there was another symbol that stood tall and and proud, a reminder of hope and freedom to those who witnessed his story.
"All my experience all my training it was useless I couldn't do anything because they were trapped inside and obviously we had received word that some of them were already dead," said Sergeant Major Lester Hayes.
At a ceremony held at Thomas University, 30 year Army veteran Lester Hayes described how he was supposed to be at a meeting inside the Pentagon during the attacks.
But Hayes says a friend and pastor made a telephone call that delayed his meeting, and ultimately saved his life.
"I believe it was a very divine moment for me and a lotta things fell into perspective it broke me to know I could've been there and to hear what I believe to be a voice of God speaking within my soul and spirit," said Hayes.
Others reflected on what they were doing that day and how even after seven years they haven't and will never forgot.
"We're proud to live here and we're proud that those people did give their lives and we give a huge apology and a thanks to the families that they belong to," said Thomas University junior Stephanie Poulk.
"To honor those victim's of that day and ongoing victims of our military people who are fighting a war because of what happened on that day, that's what we're doing," said Thomas University president Gary Bonvillian.
Hayes says the day has forever changed his life. After serving his country for 30 years and one day, he retired and is now a Thomas University student and pastor of two churches.