9/11 services held in W.Va.

September 12, 2002|by DAVE McMILLION

A member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff did not mince words in a Wednesday morning ceremony at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Col. Scott Olsen said a lot of people have been waving their flags, "as if they will make the terrorists go away."

Olsen said he expected to see a different reaction from people.

"I don't understand why there isn't more anger over this," Olsen told a large number of veterans, hospital officials and local emergency response personnel at an outdoor pavilion.

Rather than making Americans sorrowful, the attacks should "spur us to action," Olsen said.

He added that freedom is something that "has to be earned time and time again" and that the success of the United States "depends on the resolve of the American people. We are at war," Olsen said.


U.S. Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., followed Olsen at the podium. "Col. Olsen, your words were very inspiring. We'll take them home," Capito said.

Capito said she and other members of Congress visited the site of the World Trade Center last week for a dedication ceremony.

While being at the site is too tough for some to bear, Capito said she felt uplifted at times.

World War II veteran John Watson was among those in attendance.

Watson experienced plenty of bloodshed during his time in the U.S. Marine Corps., including time spent in Okinawa where thousands of U.S. soldiers lost their lives.

But what happened in New York, Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon a year ago was something else, said Watson, 76.

"I can't understand it," he said.

Numerous local firefighters, emergency services officials and dispatchers were recognized at the ceremony.

- Dave McMillion

Martinsburg (W.Va.) Fire Department officers dedicated a stone marker at the department's Queen Street station Wednesday afternoon in honor of fallen firefighters.

Firefighters had hoped to place the marker at their headquarters on Raleigh Street, but the Martinsburg City Council rejected the department's proposal because a union logo is engraved on the marker.

Officials with Westphal Hose Co. number five, a volunteer fire company that owns the property where the Queen Street substation is located, decided to offer a space for the memorial in back of the building.

It will be a temporary location for the memorial, said Scott Stroop, member of the fire department and president of the International Association of Firefighters, Local 805.

The marker was donated to the fire department by Steve Ashton of Hammaker Memorials on East Moler Avenue.

Ashton donated the marker to the fire department in return for members of the department performing resuscitation on his mother after she suffered a cardiac arrest, said Stroop.

One by one, retired and current members of the department placed a rose at the memorial as their own personal tribute to fallen firefighters.

Because firefighters never know what kind of dangers they can face on calls, Stroop asked people to keep them in their thoughts.

"When you hear us go by, just say a little prayer for us," said Stroop.

- Dave McMillion

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