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Community remembers 9/11

September 12, 2011
DEANNE JOHNSON - Staff Writer , Salem News

LISBON - People from around the county gathered at the Columbiana County Fairgrounds Sunday to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the most tragic day in recent memory.

Under a blue sky reminiscent of that fateful day, Don Humphrey Jr. reminded us of how many went from believing there had been a tragic accident to realizing our world had changed.

"As we were absorbing that news (of the first plane crash), the shocking news came that a second plane had hit the World Trade Center. We all then knew at that point something very serious was happening," Humphrey said.

He reminded the crowd that to the best of our knowledge and ability to recreate the flight pattern, United Airlines Flight 93 flew over the Columbiana County Fairgrounds. Thanks to brave Americans on board, it would eventually crash in Shanksville, Pa.

"Their brave act would ultimately result in their deaths," said James Dickens, the speaker for the event.

"We are here to remember both the victims and the heroes and to remember the words of President Lincoln who spoke at a very similar ceremony nearly 150 years ago, 'It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this,'" Humphrey added.

Dickens, the former state commander of the VFW, noted the difference between Pearl Harbor and 9/11 was that technology made it possible for us to watch "in real time horror" as the events of that day happened.

People still remember what they were doing when someone let them know what was happening. They tuned in only to watch and witness the tall buildings in New York crashing to earth and the Pentagon smoking. They wondered where the next target could be.

Dickens reminded those in attendance that the America is founded on the belief that all Americans have a right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

"Ten years ago 2,669 Americans had those rights taken away from them in a tremendously evil act against innocent fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters and friends. They would never again share their embraces, celebrate their triumphs or again look into the faces of their loved ones with pride."

He pointed out the number lost was roughly the same as the population of Lisbon.

Dickens reminded us again of the importance not to forget how we felt after the tragic day and urged those listening to live their lives to the fullest.

"It's more than just wearing red, white and blue," Dickens said. "It's more than just voting in elections. It is a commitment to our country, an unyielding love. The spirit one must have. We as Americans cannot go through life with self-serving goals thinking only of ourselves. Maybe our deeds will not impact our country," the state of Ohio or even Columbiana County, "but all of us, all of us have the ability to impact our communities and our neighborhoods."

Many were called upon to serve the country. Dickens said Sept. 11 caused many Americans to volunteer to protect our freedom.

"From the highlands and deserts of Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom, to the plains and mountains of Afghanistan in Operation Enduring Freedom, they have sacrificed their blood, their sweat, their tears and for all too many, their very last breath," Dickens said.

Not only did Dickens ask for applause for those military heroes from both present day and those who served previously, but in a nearby building after the service quilts were given to veterans. The idea of Sharen Cope, those with quilting and crocheting talents created beautiful blankets, which hang during the county fair. On Sunday, 43 veterans were honored.

Included in those numbers were some not in attendance, brother and sister Ty and Matte DeJane. Ty continues to recover from his injuries from a sniper bullet from Iraq and Madie was wounded in Iraq two years before him, but continues to serve.

Also honored was Doug Brannon, an Army Ranger from Dessert Storm, and Robert Crosser, who along with Cope organized the event.

Quilts were presented by Butch Hardy and Blair Whitman, Vietnam War veterans who served in the same group at different times. Hardy said Cope asked them to help out this year and they were glad to help.

"Blair and I were talking," he said. "We decided we would salute them, shake their hand and tell them welcome home."



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