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Greenbrier County Remembers 9/11

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Two area organizations will be continuing their annual tradition of commemorating the lives lost during the 9/11 terror attacks.

On Friday morning, just as they have done every September 11 for the last 18 years, the White Sulphur Springs Lions Club will be performing a flag-waving ceremony near exit 183 of Interstate 64, along Route 311.

Members of the Lions Club will march across the overpass carrying full-size American flags, and creating a patriotic-symbol of remembrance for motorists passing by.

Lions Club member Dick Brockway is particularly proud of the organization’s dedication to preserving the memories of those lost to the attacks. Brockway stated how the idea for this ceremony was born from the Lion’s desire to help keep those memories alive, and hopes that one day these flag-waving ceremonies will be seen all over the country. The Lions Club will begin their march at 8:46 a.m. Friday morning, (the exact time the first plane struck Tower 1 of the World Trade Center) and will continue for approximately 90 minutes.

On Friday evening, the Greenbrier County First Responder’s Association will be presenting the area’s sixth-annual Parade of Lights. An event that began in 2015 with 18 fire trucks in the Walmart parking lot, has since grown into its current home at the Midway of the W.Va. State Fairgrounds.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., this annual memorial-event will feature both the Department of Corrections special operations, and Greenbrier County K-9 units, a ‘show and tell’ of almost 80 emergency vehicles, and the landing of a rescue-helicopter.

In a post on social media, Jeff Doss, one of the event’s coordinators, stated: “Imagine that just in Greenbrier County alone, if we lost every single Deputy, Patrolman, Trooper, EMT, Medic, DNR Officer, Dispatcher and Firefighter … it would still be less than the number of first-responders lost on September 11, 2001.”

Doss expressed his hope that younger generations never lose sight of the impact of that day.

The parade itself will begin at approximately 7:30 p.m., and conclude with a candlelight vigil at the fairgrounds.

On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001, the terrorist group al-Qaeda took control of 4 domestic passenger flights bound for California, and proceeded to redirect them towards high-priority American targets on the east coast. At 8:46 a.m., hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the World Trade Center’s Tower 1 in Lower Manhattan. 17 minutes later, at 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 was similarly crashed into Tower 2. At 9:37 a.m., American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon, in Arlington, Virginia. al-Qaeda terrorists also hijacked American Airlines Flight 93. However, their attempt to hit the Capital Building in Washington, D.C failed. Passengers onboard the flight overpowered the four hijackers, resulting in the terrorist’s decision to intentionally crash the plane, at 10:03 a.m., near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. In total, the 19 al-Qaeda hijackers caused the deaths of 2,977 men, women and children. Among those killed were over 400 first-responders, including 343 firefighters, 72 law enforcement personnel and 55 members of the United States military.

19 years have now passed since the events of that morning. Lives have been lived, wars have been fought and babies born after the attacks have grown into adulthood. But for an entire generation of Americans, the memory remains as fresh as the day it happened. In the wake of the attacks, Americans all across the country made a solemn promise to never forget. And due to the efforts of the Greenbrier County First Responder’s Association, and the White Sulphur Springs Lions Club, West Virginians are doing their part to keep that promise.

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