Hart honoured the victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in America last Wednesday in a moving ceremony at the civic offices in Fleet.

Guest of honour Major Bill Davies, representing the U.S. Ambassador, planted an American dogwood tree outside the council building.

Hart's chairman, Coun. Jonathan Glen, whose wife Sharon is American, welcomed guests from a cross-section of the community, including representatives of several local branches of American companies.

Canon David Holt, vicar of All Saints Church, Fleet, read a prayer which concluded with the wish: "That all peoples may find their security, not through terror or force of arms, but in the perfect love which casts out fear, and in the fellowship revealed to us in your Son, Jesus Christ."

There was a two minute silence observed as the flags of Great Britain and the USA fluttered side by side, then the national anthems of the two countries, The Star Spangled Banner and God Save The Queen, were played by the Courtmoor School brass band, with soloist David Paine of Hart Council.

Major Davies, who is based at the embassy in Grosvenor Square and lives with his wife and children in Bordon, then planted the dogwood- a small flowering tree that blossoms in many US states each spring.

Mrs. Glen was then joined by another local American lady, freelance journalist Mrs. Pat Franklin, to jointly unveil a plaque marking the anniversary.

Fleet's MP James Arbuthnot was joined by Gerald Howarth of Aldershot, sporting a badge featuring the Union Jack and the Stars and Stripes, and other guests included Sqn Ldr Frank Clifford of RAF Odiham, Lt. Col Blanks of HQ Combat Engineer School at Minley, representatives of The Gurkhas, the Royal Navy, police, Hampshire Ambulance Service, the Chamber of Commerce, parish and town councils and sponsors.

Hampshire County Councillor Adrian Collett was present as were a number of Hart councillors led by Coun. Glen and David Simpson, his predecessor.

The event was promoted by Coun. Peter Carr, who led fund raising assisted by Coun. Hugo Eastwood and former councillor Peter Shoesmith.

The sponsors were AI Ropes and Rigging, Brooklands Garage, C and M Welding, Concord Lifting Equipment, Cranbrook Wines, H.N. Edwards, Elvetham Heath Developments, Hair Cut Sir, Hester's Garage, McDonalds Restaurants Ltd and Waitrose Supermarket, with other donations coming in too late to be acknowledged.

Courtmoor pupils were on hand to give out programmes.

Coun. Glen said the event being remembered would be on our hearts and minds for the rest of our lives and he recalled that among the 3,000 victims of the four incidents were 67 British citizens and 343 firefighters and 74 policemen, as well as many other rescue workers.

Hampshire firemen stood to attention, with their engines on the forecourts of their stations, to mark the occasion and remember the deaths of their New York counterparts.

However, the last word went to Coun. Glen, who said: "In a civilised world, whenever its democracy is challenged that democracy becomes stronger than ever before, and those who perpetuate the rule of fear last but for a brief moment."

Picture by Mike Hawley: The flags of Great Britain and the United States of America fluttered side by side outside Hart Council offices in Fleet on Sept 11. Above, from left at the memorial ceremony, are: Mrs Sharon Glen and Mrs Pat Franklin (who both wore red, white and blue), council chairman Jonathan Glen, and Major Bill Davies, representing the U.S. Ambassador.