On Tuesday, our nation looked back 17 years to remember the thousands of lives tragically lost on September 11, 2001. In Huntington, thousands of American flags were displayed in the annual Healing Fields to honor each victim of the terrorist attacks, including one of their own.
“The Healing Field does truly provide a sense of healing,” said Kevin Brady, Executive Director of the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District. “If you walk through the flags, everyone feels the spirituality that it takes on and it really does have a healing effect.”
All 3,000 flags displayed in the Spring Hill Cemetery are significant. Each one honors one of the lives lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, and 75 of the flags are in remembrance of those who died in the 1970 Marshall plane crash.
However, there’s one flag with a yellow ribbon tied to it that holds a special hometown significance. It honors one of Huntington’s own who died Sept. 11, Dr. Paul Ambrose.
“I never knew anyone who enjoyed their life, or enjoyed people, more,” said Sharon Ambrose, Paul’s mother.
Paul grew up in Huntington and attended Marshall University for his undergraduate degree and medical school.
“He was proud of Huntington, Barboursville, and Marshall,” said Dr. Ken Ambrose, Paul’s father. “It always had a special place in his heart.”
By 2001, Paul was working for the U.S. Surgeon General at the age of 32. That Sept. 11, he boarded Flight 77 en route to Los Angeles. Hijackers turned the plane around, passed over his hometown of Huntington, and then crashed into the Pentagon.
“We’re not really sure what happened as far as the passengers, but he was athletic and he was strong, so who knows what went on,” said Dr. Ken Ambrose.
Each year now, Paul’s memory lives on at The Healing Fields, tied to a symbol of patriotism.
Even when the flags come down on Thursday, other memorials remain in Spring Hill Cemetery to remember all of the Sept. 11 victims, veterans who made the ultimate sacrifice, and those who died in the Marshall plane crash.
“When you think of 17 years and people still remember, I think it’s a wonderful thing,” said Sharon Ambrose. “The Healing Fields is a very apt name. It brings people together to remember and I think it’s wonderful.”
Dr. Ken Ambrose also spoke at Huntington’s Patriot Day ceremony Tuesday night, in honor of his son’s life and love for Huntington.