There's Rock Hill's "flag guy" and Rock Hill's "flag lady." Lesslie's "firefighter" and Tega Cay's "grandfather."
Separate people, strangers, for whom the terrorist attacks and almost 3,000 dead on Sept. 11, 2001, prompted actions that were public and visible - and from the heart.
All have strong feelings on the controversy over plans to build a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.
The seemingly clueless preacher from Florida who has threatened to burn copies of the Quran on Saturday - as the whole sane world begs him not to, even if it is legal. Local political groups holding events on the 9/11 anniversary. But what is right for 9/11?
Somber reflection? Act like any other day, on a day that has become as important to many Americans as any legal holiday - maybe more?
'This is the people's day'
The "flag guy" is 88-year-old Leonard Farrington, who from the Sutton Road bridge over Interstate 77 just north of the Catawba River waved a huge American flag on Sept. 11, 2001, and each anniversary for years - until a state trooper told him a few years ago his cause was noble but had become a traffic menace.
Farrington, who enlisted in the military after Pearl Harbor in 1941 and served five years overseas, had this to say about the Florida preacher Terry Jones threatening to burn the Quran in spite of pleadings from the world that he could enflame Muslims to violence.
"The idiot is causing an international incident, and ... on the day we remember all those who died," Farrington said. "He meets me, he would find out what 9/11 is all about."
Local Democrats will meet Saturday in Rock Hill, while tea party activists will meet in Lancaster. Farrington's reaction: So what?
The politicians of any party "will stick their arms out the window into the rain and tell you it's dry," he said. "What they do Saturday makes no difference one way or another.
"This is the people's day."
Woman hands out flags
The "flag lady" - who, starting on Sept. 11, 2001, has put out thousands of American flags around the city and will again on Saturday - is Rock Hill real estate agent Pam Morrell.
She called the Florida Quran burnings "too stupid for words, a publicity stunt."
Like Farrington, she recognizes the right Muslims to build a mosque near Ground Zero but wishes a "more sensitive" alternative could be found.
As far as the politicians holding events Saturday, Morrell said, the horrible attacks were "political statements, and terrible statements at that."
But politicians can use the 9/11 anniversary to make points about this country in a way that is positive, she said.
'Personal for firefighters'
Sept. 11 brings out strong emotions - especially from firefighters; 343 firefighters died that day in New York.
"That preacher burning Qurans, what would he say if somebody was across the street burning Bibles?" asked Jerry Williams, a volunteer firefighter with the Lesslie Fire Department for more than 50 years. "He is totally wrong. One radical preacher with about 50 people following him?"
As for the mosque planned for two blocks from Ground Zero, Williams has no problem with it. And the politicians looking for votes or support on Saturday don't bother him, either.
"If we have a fire Saturday, we will do what we always do ... which is go," said Williams. "9/11 is personal for firefighters. This day matters."
Lesslie firefighters - like so many around the area and the country - will have a moment of silence for the dead New York firefighters on Saturday.
George Jacobs of Tega Cay is a Marine veteran whose grandson, Brian Dunn of Rock Hill, was wounded in Iraq. Dunn enlisted just so he could fight for his country after 9/11.
His jaw was broken, his back cracked, his body littered with shrapnel. The same 2005 attack on a Humvee that hurt Dunn claimed the life of a 19-year-old buddy.
"There's no 9/11, those attacks on our people," Jacobs said, then "troops like my grandson don't go over there and get hurt, or killed.
On the front of Jacobs' Ford Explorer is a vanity license plate that says "9/11 Don't Forget." It has been there ever since soon after the attacks. He will remember 9/11 quietly Saturday to honor his grandson and all those other troops.
"That idiot in Florida burning Qurans, he's a fool," said Jacobs. "My grandson was wounded because of 9/11. You don't honor him and all those others with hate."
The "flag guy" Leonard Harrington and the "flag lady" Pam Morrell and the firefighter Jerry Williams and the veteran with the wounded grandson George Jacobs all are repulsed by hate and hate speech.
Each uses the word "love" a lot, though.
Maybe we could all learn something from them about what is right on 9/11.
Andrew Dys 803-329-4065