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Hagerstown marks Sept. 11 anniversary with City Hall ceremony

September 12, 2008|By DAN DEARTH

View the "Partiot Day Remembrance" slideshow.

HAGERSTOWN -- Americans need to remain vigilant, even though terrorists haven't waged a successful attack in the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, officials said Thursday during a ceremony at Hagerstown City Hall.

Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II and Washington County Commissioners President John F. Barr were among about 30 people who attended the event to commemorate the seventh anniversary of terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

"People around the world wake up every morning to see how they can do this again ... Only much worse," Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said. "We are facing a foe that will never give up."

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Smith was referring to al-Qaida, a terrorist organization that seven years ago Thursday hijacked four passenger jets, flying one into the Pentagon and two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The fourth jet crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa., as passengers struggled to take control of the plane.

Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks.

Wearing pins that said, "Remember," members of the audience listened to children sing "God Bless America" and, a few moments later, to a bugler who played taps.

Participants were asked to observe a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. -- the moment that the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Hagerstown Fire Chief Gary Hawbaker said he recalled watching television as New York City firefighters rushed into the World Trade Center just moments before the skyscrapers collapsed.

"There were no photos of firefighters coming out," Hawbaker said of the 343 firefighters who died that day.

Wayne Taylor, vice president of the Joint Veterans Council, fought back tears as he thanked the heroes who died.

"The only way their deaths won't have been in vain is if we remember," Taylor said. "We won't forget ... Let's hope we never have to repeat that again."

Barr and Bruchey said that despite the suffering, Sept. 11 brought the country closer together.

"Let your chest fill with pride," Bruchey said. "Remember we're Americans."

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