Community gathers to commemorate 10th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks
By BY ALLISON MILES - AMILES@VICAD.COM
Sept. 9, 2011 at 4:09 a.m.
Thin wires tethered a massive American flag to Citizens Medical Center. Nearby, people held miniature versions in their hands.
But, of all the patriotism in the area, none surpassed Winnie McCarrell, whose flag-themed ensemble included rhinestone-studded glasses, striped fingernails, jewelry and more.
"I always wear patriotic things," she said, explaining her family line includes a long string of veterans. "Last year, the VFW gave me a plaque and called me 'Miss Red White and Blue.'"
McCarrell was among an estimated 200 people who gathered Friday morning for a memorial ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.
The event, which has occurred each year since the attacks, included prayers, patriotic music and a helicopter flyover.
More than 3,000 workers and first responders died in the attacks and millions worldwide died a little inside, said U.S. Army Reserve Col. Michael Keller, who presented the keynote speech.
Keller encouraged others to keep memories of Sept. 11 fresh in their minds to preserve the victims' legacies. Not just on the anniversary, he said, but every day.
"On occasions like this, I suggest that we remember that the perpetrators of this evil act didn't simply attack America," he said. "They attacked the very idea of America itself. And all we stand for and represent in the world was attacked."
Caren Adamson, a member of Daughters of the American Revolution, said she makes it a point to attend events that offer patriotic support of our ancestors.
The Citizens Medical Center administrator said she was at work when the attacks took place and remembered standing in awe as events unfolded on TV.
"In some ways, it seems like it was just yesterday," she said. "Yet, the speaker was right. We need events like this to keep remembering."
Adamson's friend and fellow DAR member, Etta Shepherd, said she was glad she maintained composure while taps played at the ceremony.
"I usually don't," she said with a smile. "It gets to me."
As for McCarrell, she said she was proud to make it out to Friday's memorial because so many people made the ultimate sacrifice.
"It's something we shouldn't forget," she said.