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Events of Sept. 11, 2001 remembered during memorial ceremony at Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Park

September 09, 2012|By ROXANN MILLER | roxann.miller@herald-mail.com
  • International Association of Firefighters Local 1813 and V.F.W Post 1599 post colors at Sunday's 9/11 Memorial Service at Franklin County Veterans' Memorial Park at Letterkenny Army Depot.
By Roxann Miller

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Area residents paused to remember and reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, during Sunday’s 9/11 Memorial Ceremony at Franklin County Veterans’ Memorial Park near the Letterkenny Chapel.

The service was held under a tent by the park’s Franklin County 9/11 Memorial, which stands as a tribute to those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001.

G. Warren Elliott, former Franklin County commissioner, spoke about the progress of Franklin County Veterans’ Memorial Park.

Phases one and two, which are the physical construction, are complete.

Phases three and four are to be completed, he said.

“Phase three will be the final landscaping and paver installation around the base of the main stand of flags on the Veterans Plaza,” Elliott said. “Phase four will be the development of a walk of history and interactive database.”

He said the interactive database would showcase the commitment of individual men, women and military units from Franklin County in all the wars and conflicts, beginning with the French and Indian War to the present-day wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Completion is slated for 2013.

Then, Elliott introduced keynote speaker William FitzGerald, chief of emergency services for the Borough of Chambersburg.

FitzGerald, who was a first responder during the terrorist attack on the Pentagon, said he had just completed a 24-hour shift as operations deputy fire chief of Washington, D.C., when a co-worker called him and told him that the Twin Towers had been attacked.

“During my 38 years of public service, I have worked many high-profile emergency incidents such as the plane that crashed into the Potomac River during a blizzard in 1982, which killed 78 persons, a small plane that crashed into the White House in 1994. ...

“What was so different about Sept. 11, 2001, and the attack on the Pentagon?” FitzGerald asked. “That was a true act of terrorism ... orchestrated to kill innocent people.”

When he responded to the Pentagon, he said he came across uniformed bodies with military nameplates still intact.

“Over the next several days and weeks, as I read the obituaries, I came across some of those same names and realized the magnitude of each families’ loss,” he said.

The 9/11 ceremony ended with a rifle salute and taps.

As Tracey Savary walked around the park, she looked down at the names on the pavers.

“I’m just kind of looking and remembering,” the Chambersburg resident said.

She said she wanted to attend the memorial “just to honor them.”

“I think this park is a well-deserved memorial,” she said.

Clare Elder of Chambersburg stared at the 9/11 artifacts that make up the memorial in the park.

“This gives us something to remember. I think people forget too often. It’s for people to remember — so they won’t ever forget,” Elder said.

Colors were presented by Veterans of Foreign War Post 1599, International Association of Firefighters Local 1813 and Cub Scout Pack 121 of Shippensburg, Pa.

Bailey N. Orange, 13, sang the national anthem and raised the U.S. Air Force flag on veterans plaza.

Cheryl Stearn, president of the United Churches of Chambersburg Area, gave the invocation.

“We honor all those whose lives were affected by the events of 9/11,” Stearn said.

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