The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 11, 2012

Joplin residents observe Patriot Day

JOPLIN, Mo. — Chip Spencer runs or walks most every day. On Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack, he decided to run with the red, white and blue in observance of Patriot Day.

“I think you are part of the solution or part of the problem,’’ said Spencer, of Joplin. “I want to be part of the solution. This day reminds me that we live in a free country where you can still express yourself.’’

As Spencer was running west on West 32nd Street, he encountered Buffy Pardon who was walking to the McDonald’s restaurant at 32nd Street and McClelland Boulevard, where she works.

“I thought he was out getting his exercise and then I saw the Flag and thought about Sept. 11,’’ she said. “That made me think about whether we were flying our flag at half-mast. I can see from here that we are not. I need to tell them about that.’’

After she arrived to work, the restaurant lowered its flag to half staff.

Flags across the city were lowered Tuesday in observance of Patriot Day. Middle school students prepared “goody bags’’ for soldiers overseas and college students helped make repairs to an historic church in downtown Joplin.

For Spencer, it was a moment to put a smile on someone’s face.

“I have had 50 people at least wave or honk at me today,’’ said Spencer. “What was it that Emerson said? If you can make one person breathe easier then you can call that day a success. Maybe I helped some people to breathe easier today.’’

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