Elected officials honor the American flag as the Vienna Choral Society sang the National Anthem.
Photo by Donna Manz/The Connection
On Thursday, Sept. 11, 2014, the sky was bright blue, the air warm and crisp, the sun beamed. Much like the morning was in the D.C. area on Sept. 11, 2001. The tragedy that unfolded in less than two hours 13 years ago comes to the forefront of communities across the nation every September 11, commemorating the most pervasive way-of-life changing terrorist attack on American soil.
Vienna’s American Legion Post 180 and the Town of Vienna partner each year in a solemn program paying tribute to “A Day to Remember.” On 9-11, two commercial aircraft smashed through the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one tore into the Pentagon, and a fourth crashed in Somerset County, Pennsylvania.
“It was strange with no planes overhead, nothing normal,” said Captain Steven Clark of the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department reflecting on that day. He spent 48 hours at the Pentagon working from Tower 1 out of McLean. “We were checking for hotspots on the roof,” said Clark, remembering that President George Bush came by and saluted them.
A Day to Remember program” began at 10 a.m. on the lawn of Freeman House, about the same time the South Tower collapsed. The Post 180 Honor Guard presented the colors, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. The Vienna Choral Society sang the National Anthem, and Martha Hatter, past Unit president of the American Legion Auxiliary, gave the invocation. Post Commander Joseph Payne introduced guest speaker Jane H. Davis, author of “First Aid for Heroes,” an American Red Cross volunteer nurse who tended to the physical and emotional needs of the recovery teams.
Recalling making her way into Manhattan, Davis said, “it looked like a war zone. Then, there was the acrid smell.” Davis narrated vignettes from her two-and-a-half week duty at Ground Zero, from her interactions with first-responders to a heart-to-heart talk with a school janitor who refused to leave his building.
Mayor Laurie DiRocco, Town Council members Edyth Kelleher, Emil Attanasi, Linda Colbert, Carey Sienicki, Howard Springsteen and Pasha Majdi, and Delegate Mark Keam and State Senator Chap Petersen were present during the program. TAPS closed the program.
Mayor DiRocco, on behalf of the Town of Vienna, read the town’s annual proclamation to “memorialize those whose lives were suddenly, without cause, and pointlessly taken from them on Sept. 11, 2001, and may they forever rest in peace and abide in our memories.”
— Donna Manz