WILLIAMSON — Yesterday marked the 11th anniversary of the World Trade Center attack that killed nearly 3,000 people and shook the nation to its very core.
Various state officials commented on the anniversary and the Matewan Town Council recognized it as well at the start of its meeting.
Councilman David Smith stood before the council and members of the general public in attendance and recited a poem “We Remember,” by Richard J. Beck.
“We will never forget / We will always remember / When America changed / That day in September,” Smith said in the poem’s ending stanza.
Once he was finished, those in attendance nodded in agreeance with the poem’s words and a few said “amen.” Mayor Sheila Kessler thanked Smith for sharing the poem.
At the state level, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, along with the first lady, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, honored those who died by leading a statewide moment of silence, placing a wreath at the West Virginia Fallen Firefighters’ Memorial, and participating in a remembrance ceremony at the state capitol. Children, as well as some state and local leaders, were among those who joined the governor and first lady.
“Although 11 years have passed, we still remember that morning — where we were and what we were doing. It was a terrible day, and one I hope this country never faces again,” Gov. Tomblin said. “I am grateful for every West Virginian who took time to remember those lost 11 years ago today. Joanne and I pray for all those who were personally touched by those tragic events.”
“Every year on this day, we are reminded of the sacrifices many police officers and firefighters made and continue to make each day,” the first lady said. “Words cannot express our gratitude to our first responders and military members who continue to serve and protect our hometowns and our great nation. On this day especially, I encourage all West Virginians to let these individuals know how much we appreciate their selflessness.”
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall also commented on yesterday’s anniversary.
“Today, we join in solemn remembrance of those who lost their lives on this day eleven years ago. As a nation, we suffered a tremendous blow to our sense of security. But we also found inspiration in our fellow Americans — our police officers, firefighters, and first responders, as well as our men and women in the Armed Forces — that ignited a pervasive, collective sense of patriotism and courage to carry on.
“As we stand in this season of debate about the future course of our Nation, I hope that this day, and our memories of that tragic time, will help to inspire us to focus, not on our differences, but instead on our commonalities as Americans and our dreams for a better tomorrow. The horrendous events of eleven years ago may continue to haunt our Nation, but they will not deter our commitment to the liberties and principles of a free people.
“In that spirit, I urge all Americans to recommit themselves to serving their neighbors, strengthening their communities and showing yet again why this is the greatest nation on Earth. May God bless America.”
West Virginia Senators Joe Manchin and Jay Rockefeller (both D-W.Va.) released statements on the 9/11 anniversary as well.
“On this anniversary, we will all take time to stop and remember the tragic events of September 11 and grieve for those who lost their lives that day and those who gave their lives to preserve our freedoms – especially the three West Virginians lost on Sept. 11 and the 39 West Virginians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Manchin said. “It is my hope that all West Virginians and all Americans will also take a moment to rekindle the spirit of unity that we felt in the aftermath of those terrible attacks. In our shared grief, we put our political differences aside for our common belief: we are all Americans.”
“Today is a day to remember the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives 11 years ago,” Rockefeller said. “The sadness of 9/11 is still nearby and none of us will ever forget it. West Virginia lost Dr. Paul Ambrose of Barboursville, Mary Lou Hague of Parkersburg, and Shelley Marshall, whose family resides in Martinsburg. Their lives were taken away far too soon, and they will always be in our memory.”