Area schools hold ceremonies

PARKERSBURG – Ceremonies were held Wednesday to mark the 12th anniversary of the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Students at Parkersburg High School gathered early Wednesday morning in front of the school flagpole as part of PHS’s annual remembrance ceremony.

The event featured speaker Liza Adams, mother of Parkersburg native Mary Lou Hague, a 1992 Parkersburg High School graduate, who was working as a research analyst on the 89th floor in Tower 2 of the World Trade Center when terrorists flew a plane into the building.

Adams said the Sept. 11 observance was “a time for us to focus, not only on the horror of that day, but also the monumental importance of that day in our lives and in our country,

“I want you to think of this day as a time to sit back and think of our freedom. Freedom is beautiful.”

Members of the Parkersburg Fire Department stood in attendance at the ceremony and saluted as members of the Parkersburg High School Naval Junior ROTC brought the flag to half-staff. West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin on Tuesday called for flags at all state facilities on Wednesday to be flown at half-mast

Fire department Lt. Kevin Siers spoke of those first responders who rushed into danger and were killed when the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City fell.

“Don’t leave anything undone,” Siers said. “We just don’t know what day is our day.”

Parkersburg firefighters rang the bell on the antique firetruck in three sets of three, nine times total, to signify those firemen who did not return home after the Sept. 11 attacks.

West Virginia University at Parkersburg held a ceremony at 10 a.m. Wednesday with student council members ringing the college bell four times to signify those lost in the four attacks.

The event featured addresses by college President Marie Foster Gnage and WVU-Parkersburg Student Government Association President Tyler Ohrn. Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin delivered the main address, talking about how people have bounced back from the tragedy, using it to help heal the nation and strengthen communities.

“The fear that was injected into everyone that morning has now been replaced with resilience and pride,” he said.

The ceremony ended with those gathered singing “America the Beautiful.”

Tomblin asked for residents throughout the state to join together with those throughout the nation in a moment of silence beginning at 8:46 a.m. Wednesday.