HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — On Wednesday, people and organizations across the region held ceremonies to honor those that lost their lives 18 years ago in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, making sure to never forget that day.
From Washington and New York to the fields of Pennsylvania, to small memorials in towns across the nation, that message was repeated time and time again, including here in our area.
“Nobody was ready for it, nobody,” said Retired US Air Force Chief Master Sergeant David Boyles when he spoke about 9/11.
Somebody once said, “There’s a beginning and an end but all that matters is the dash between the years.” It’s in writing on a plaque at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington. Literally.
And to people across the area, it’s that dash that days of remembrance like Wednesday are all about. The stories of ordinary people like Todd Beamer, who, along with others broke into the cockpit of a hijacked airline to confront the terrorists.
“The results were, he protected the nation’s capital, and saved countless lives,” said Boyles.
Wednesday, the region paused to honor the men and women killed on that bright Tuesday morning 18 years ago. Also honored were the first responders that day, and those fighting and dying in the war on terrorism.
As first responders, we have a strong appreciation for the phrase ‘We Will Never Forget.’ This phrase is important for many reasons. One reason is that we should always honor those that were killed that day. Another reason is to not forget that evil still exists and we need to stand ready and prepared to battle it at all times. Those that would do harm to our citizens and our nation are active in the world, and if good people are complacent, they can and will strike us again. First responders dedicate their lives to preventing that from happening, and to being prepared to respond if it does. We owe that to past generations and future generations alike.Chief Hank Dial, Huntington Police Department
“We don’t know what threat is going to come our way, but we have to be on guard,” said Sergeant Charles Smoot, a Vietnam War Veteran.
“I was actually [teaching] at Huntington Saint Joe,” said social studies teacher Timothy Alford. “I saw the whole thing unfold in front of us.”
Over at the Spring Hill Cemetery, thousands of American Flags representing someone’s brother or sister, husband or wife, son or daughter.
“We felt that it was important to place the flags on display for all the generations to understand what happened on 9/11,” said Delores McCoy, Operations Manager at Spring Hill Cemetery.
During the 6:00 p.m. ceremony at the cemetery on Wednesday, the 9/11 memorial, which has beams from the world trade center, will be officially named.
In Kanwha County, students honored the victims by raising the flag Wednesday morning at Saint Albans High School.
“It’s heartbreaking. To me it’s heartbreaking,” said Cadet Captain Faith Sparrow of Saint Albans High School. “So many people have lost their lives.”
While in Putnam County, gold star families and veterans sat by one another to hear that heroic story about Beamer.
Wednesday’s memorial ceremony at Spring Hill Cemetery in Huntington starts at 6:00 p.m. Speakers include Marshall University President Jerome Gilbert and Huntington Chief of Police Hank Dial.