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Letterkenny service remembers 9/11

September 10, 2006|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, PA.

As residents gathered in the Letterkenny Chapel on Sunday to remember the victims of Sept. 11, 2001, few could believe that five years had passed. The warm September air hinted of coming fall and the green of summer had begun to fade to shades of brown. Life had continued, but the scars remained.

"We gather to remember," the Rev. William H. Harter began, "because we must never forget."

More than 100 local residents filled the pews of the small chapel at the Letterkenny Army Depot to honor the victims of Sept. 11 with a Service of Remembrance.

The service has become an annual event, according to Harter, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of Falling Spring. The United Churches of the Chambersburg Area began the services in 2002, he said, to honor the victims and ensure remembrance through prayer, message and song. Each year, the group selects a speaker closely tied to the events of Sept. 11 to share their story.

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"Having a first-person account carries specific weight for those who want to remember," Harter said.

This year, aided by diagrams, photos, and transcripts, Douglas Warnock of Chambersburg told his account of when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the western wall of the Pentagon, not far from his desk.

A staff action officer in the Army Assistant Chief of Staff for Installation Management office, Warnock was sitting at his desk in the Pentagon when the plane struck.

"When the plane hit, I was talking to my son on the computer," Warnock recalled.

Retracing the steps he took that morning, Warnock read transcripts of his conversation with his son to the congregation and showed images of the flaming plane. But he emphasized that the plane hit the ground before crashing into the western wall of the Pentagon.

Warnock said his office was in the path of trajectory of the plane, but because it hit the ground first, it stopped before it reached him.

"If the plane wouldn't have hit the ground first, it would have not stopped at the C ring of the Pentagon, it would have gone into the B and A rings, and through my office," he explained.

Warnock admitted that retelling the events of Sept. 11 was difficult, but he believes God protected him that day.

"God had other plans for he," he said, adding that he continues to work at the Pentagon.

The service concluded with a gun salute by the Honor Guard of the Charles F. Nitterhouse Post 1599 of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

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