A ceremony was held Monday at Winchester Hall.
Frederick, Md (KM). Some Frederick County residents gathered at Winchester Hall Monday to remember the 9/11 attacks 16 years ago.
County Executive Jan Gardner recalled on that day, September 11th, 2001, she was attending a Board of County Commissioners’ meeting when she heard the news that two planes struck the World Trade Center in New York City, along with the attacks on the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. Also that day, a plane crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers seized control of the aircraft from hijackers. Gardner says the meeting was adjourned that day.
All commercial aircraft were grounded that day, but Gardner says there were fighter jets flying over Frederick County. That raised some alarms because some people felt that Camp David or Fort Detrick was under attack. “I know I went to my daughter’s elementary school that day to pick her up from school because like many parents we wanted to go gather our children. And the parents were frantic in the foyer of that school. I actually stood on a chair and said Camp David is not under attack,” she said.
But the County Executive noted that day 16 years ago changed the country. “On that Tuesday morning, our nation pulled together. We stood together as Americans ready to help each other, ready to support each other, ready to stand united and ready to face our future together,” she said.
Even with the divisiveness in the country, Gardner urged Americans to unite. “We certainly can debate our differences. In fact, our democracy depends on us debating our differences. But we need to do that with civil discourse. The melding of opinions and ideas is what makes our country special.”
Part of the ceremony included the showing of a video entitled “Stories of September 11th” where local residents recalled what they were doing on September 11th, 2001. Micky Fyock, the Chief of the Woodsboro Fire Company, said he received a call from the command post at the Pentagon, asking if the Company’s 1955 ladder truck was available. It was small enough to go into the Pentagon and keep the fires under control during the overnight hours. Chief Fyock recalled his first meeting with fire officials at the Pentagon. upon his arrival. “This older truck, country boys long way from home from the fire department. A tall lanky, captain walked up to me and said ‘how can I help you help us.’ I will take that phrase to my grave because it was the greatest introduction that I’ve ever heard,” he said.
Also recalling his experiences on 9/11 was Frederick County Fire Chief Tom Owens, who, at the time, was Assistant Chief for the City of Fairfax, Virginia, Fire Department. He was involved in the fire suppression efforts at the Pentagon, which was 12 miles from his office. He says he worked with the crew from the Woodsboro Fire Company. “The crew from Woodsboro and their truck set up. They performed flawlessly. They operated through the overnight hours to carry out their mission,” he said.
The video also featured comments from Patrick and Sharon Linton, who lost their son, Alan Linton, Jr., who was working in the World Trade Center the day it was attacked. “Of course, we loved our son. We miss him. We know he’s in a better place even though it hurts our hearts,” said Patrick Linton.
It was 16 years when the terrorist attacks occurred, which prompted Chip Jewell with Frederick County Fire and Rescue to ask this question. “Why remember? I’ll tell you why. Because we remember over 3,000 that died that day. And we want to remember the families of those individuals to demonstrate to them the love of their country and the support they have in America,” he said.
Jewell also pointed that the country is still reeling from the 9’/11 attacks. He said there are about 6,000 people who were involved in rescue operations on September 11th, 2001 who have contracted cancer.
During the Fallen Fire Fighters’ ceremony in Emmitsburg in October, Jewell said 75 fire fighters who died in the line of duty in 2016 will be honored, along with 14 New York City fire fighters who died from cancer years after the terrorist attacks.
By Kevin McManus