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Prince William community gathers for reflection at 9/11 remembrance ceremony

The Prince William Joint Color Guard presented the colors at the county’s Liberty Memorial to open a 9/11 ceremony 21 years after terrorists flew two airplanes into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and another into the Pentagon. Passengers took control of a fourth airplane, bound for the U.S. Capitol building, and crashed it into a field in Shanksville, Pa.

In all, 2,996 people died on September 11, 2001. Prince William County lost 22 residents, more than any other jurisdiction in the region.

“We stand at this memorial today to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice on September 11, 2001. We stand here to recall those who perished, to honor them and to remember the terrible cost of that awful day. We stand here to mark the spirit of the American people,” Prince William County Chair At-Large Ann Wheeler said at the ceremony that was held under a blue sky, similar to the day the nation was attacked.

Prince William Fire and Rescue Department Lt. Jeff Howdyshell rang a bell in three sets of five tolls to note the county’s loss. The tradition, carried forward to today, began before telephones and radios when firefighters rang bells to remember a firefighter’s line-of-duty death.

The symbolism of the Liberty Memorial, near the McCoart Government Center, pays tribute to all who died that day. A five-sided pool represents the Pentagon. The names of those from Prince William County who were lost are inscribed on the side of the memorial. Two fountains in the pool represent the two towers of the World Trade Center and those who perished there that day. Flagstones from Pennsylvania honor the passengers of flight 93 whose actions prevented further death and destruction. An original limestone block from a collapsed section of the Pentagon completes the memorial.

Shun Goosby, who attended the ceremony, had a friend who died at the Pentagon “It’s important to remember her and her family. Of course, it’s important to remember all the others as well.”
Retired U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Donnell Johns helped lay the wreath toward the end of the ceremony. “Our nation – and our history – are so important. The sacrifice of those who died on September 11 needs to be honored and remembered.”

In his benediction, Pastor Stu Hubbard said it is also fitting to remember those who lost loved ones. “Father God, we are so grateful for these hearts here. We are grateful for those who do remember. We pray for those who are still healing and will always be healing from the loss they sustained. But Father, we also thank you for life you give us every day. Help us to honor you with what we do. We thank you in your name.”
Prince William County neighbors, family and friends who died in the attacks include:

• Sergeant First Class John J. Chada, U.S. Army, Retired
• Specialist Jamie L. Fallon, U.S. Navy
• Amelia V. Fields
• Lt. Col. Robert J. Hymel, U.S. Air Force, Retired
• Sergeant Major Lacey B. Ivory, U.S. Army
• Judith L. Jones
• David W. Laychak
• James T. Lynch, Jr.
• Gene E. Maloy
• Robert J. Maxwell
• Molly L. McKenzie
• Craig J. Miller
• Diana B. Padro
• Rhonda S. Rasmussen
• Edward V. Rowenhorst
• Judy Rowlett
• Donald D. Simmons
• Jeff L. Simpson
• Cheryle D. Sincock
• Chief Information Systems Technician Gregg H. Smallwood, U.S. Navy
• Sergeant Major Larry L. Strickland, U.S. Army
• Sandra L. White

Donna Flory bugled the ceremony to a close by playing taps.
State Senator George Barker, Del. Michelle Maldonado and Del. Briana Sewell, and Prince William County supervisors Yesli Vega, Coles District, Victor Angry, Neabsco District, Kenny Boddye, Occoquan District, Andrea Bailey, Potomac District, and Margaret Angela Franklin, Woodbridge District also attended the ceremony.

–Submitted by the Prince William County Government

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