9/11 not forgotten in county

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 11, 2003

It has always been said that, "Time heals all wounds."

But for many, two years has hardly dulled the painful memories the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks etched into the country's collective conscience.

Though there will not be as many observances as last year, many locals said they will definitely keep the sacrifices and loss in their hearts on a day that has become known as Patriot's Day.

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Several local schools have a moment of silence or other small activity planned.

"Last year we had a big patriotic assembly. This year we elected to remember it as an important event in history, one that we should not forget," Ironton Junior High School Principal Jerry Watson said. "We will explain to the kids that this is a day we should always remember."

Individual teachers may elect to turn on the television to watch the national events or to just talk with the students about what they remember and how they feel, he said.

City workers spent the morning putting up flags downtown along Third Street and Park Avenue.

"We are going to put the flags up just to remind people that this was an important, but tragic day in the history of the United States," Mayor Bob Cleary said.

Gov. Bob Taft has called for all state flags to fly at half staff today to show that the world has not forgotten its fallen heroes.

"Our prayers and heartfelt condolences are with the families and friends of those who lost their lives as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks," he said in a written statement. "I ask Ohioans to pause and reflect at 8:46 a.m. on the 11th to remember the tragic loss we suffered two years ago."

Last year, the Ironton Fire Department held a solemn ceremony that touched many in attendance. While fire departments across the country probably will not do anything big until the five-year anniversary, it will still be on everyone's minds, Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon said.

"It does not seem like it has been that long ago,"

he said. "A lot has happened between now and then. When you see pictures on the television, it does not seem far off. I am sure it has not been out of anyone's thoughts in last two years."

Law enforcement was equally affected by the tragic events. For Proctorville Police

Department Sgt. Jeff Rood, Sept. 11 will always be a bittersweet day in his family.

Rood had a niece born in 2001 and had twin nephews born on Sept. 11, 2002.

"It is a celebration day and a mourning day for us," he said. "You never know what could happen. I do think it should be recognized every year."

It is not just law enforcement personnel or firefighters who were profoundly affected by that September day. It hit home for just as many ordinary citizens.

Ironton resident George Wilson said he will never forget the images he saw.

"It seems like it happened just last week. The memories are still there," he said. "It will never leave my mind. I watched those towers fall on TV. This is something I can never get over."

Wilson said he wanted to go to New York City to help out, but was unable to get anyone to go with him.

"I might not have been able to do much," he said. "But, I would have tried."