On a day that dawned as bright and blue as Sept. 11, 2001, folks in Washington County gathered Tuesday in remembrance of that tragic day of terrorism 11 years ago.
In Marietta, ceremonies included a gathering at Washington State Community College and a visit to Armory Square by Harmar Elementary students.
Just after 10 a.m., students, staff and military veterans gathered at a memorial service that was part of a 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance held by AmeriCorps College Guides at Washington State Community College.
SHARON BOPP The Marietta Times
Harmar Elementary School students say the “Pledge of Allegiance” at Marietta’s Armory Square Tuesday as they remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
The memorial service was held by the flagpole in front of the campus' main building
"We recognized our fallen brothers and all the people who lost their lives on 9/11," said George Wulfert, squad leader for the honor guard from the VFW Post 5108 in Marietta that participated in WSCC's memorial service.
Members of Marietta's American Legion Post 64 also took part in the memorial service at WSCC, presenting an American flag containing all the names of those who perished on Sept. 11 to VFW Post 5108's honor guard.
"The flag was different," noted John R. Schlotterbeck Jr., 63, of Marietta, a life member of American Legion Post 64 and district sergeant of arms at Tuesday's memorial service. "It was the first time we've ever seen one like it."
VFW Post 5108 honor guard members then did a 21-gun salute, followed by a haunting rendition of "Taps" performed by Doryl Weinstock, the honor guard's bugler.
Charlie Kelly, an alternate commander for the VFW Post 5108's honor guard, said his thoughts returned to those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 as he took part in the service.
"I was remembering what (Sept. 11 victims) went through, trying to focus on their last thoughts, because I've been in combat and remember what I thought would be my last thoughts," Kelly said.
Kelly was a member of the U.S. Army from 1977 to 1995 and saw combat during his service. He last served in the Army as a platoon sergeant.
WSCC student Nathan Kennedy, 18, of Cambridge was a sixth-grader on Sept. 11, 2001. He was "rushed home" after school administrators announced the attacks.
"(That day) is still in my mind, it will never leave," said Kennedy. "I try to do something every year on this day in remembrance of the people who lost their lives."
The AmeriCorps College Guides at Washington State Community College are also conducting a product drive that will result in care packages being made by the Ohio National Guard and given to American soldiers overseas.
According to Katey Blackwell, AmeriCorps college guide for WSCC, the drive is an important part of the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance event.
"We're able to serve others in honor of the people who died that day," Blackwell said.
Donation barrels are positioned at various WSCC campus locations including the Carson K. Miller Library, Student Services and the Center for Student Success.
Donations of toiletries, non-perishable food items, cash and more are being accepted through Friday.
At Marietta's Armory Square, some 280 students from kindergarten through fifth grade at Harmar Elementary School recited the "Pledge of Allegiance" and sang patriotic songs to remember Sept. 11, 2001 and celebrate Constitution Day, which is Monday.
Harmar students left the school at 9:30 a.m. and walked along Fort Street, across the Putnam Street Bridge and down Front Street to Armory Square.
Harmar Elementary School Principal Cheryl Cook explained to the students that the American flag at the Armory building was at half-mast in remembrance of 9/11.
"(2001) was the birth year for a lot of these kids, so they don't remember Sept. 11," Cook noted.
Students then said the "Pledge of Allegiance" with right hands over their hearts.
For Maddi McKitrick, 10, a Harmar Elementary fifth-grader, the best parts of the event were "getting to hold the American flag when we said the pledge-and singing."
Students also gave a round of applause to a group of Marietta's own first responders, including members of the Marietta Fire Department and Washington County's Sheriff's Office.
"We want our students to think about how important first responders are," said Cook.
Michael Tobar, Harmar Elementary's music teacher, led the students in singing "This Land Is Your Land" and "God Bless America."
"I thought it was really cool to be able to honor the people who died fighting for us," said Harmar fifth-grader Blake Villers, 10.