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Patriot Day: PHS ceremony marks Sept. 11

Parkersburg High School Navy Junior ROTC Lt. j.g. Ethan Wilson, left, and Chief Hunter Turner, right, prepare to raise the American flag during an event Wednesday morning to remember those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (Photo by Michael Erb)

PARKERSBURG — Students, staff and residents of the community gathered on the front lawn of Parkersburg High School Wednesday morning to remember those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The Parkersburg High School A Cappella Choir sang the school alma mater and the national anthem, and members of the PHS Navy Junior ROTC raised the American flag and lowered it to half-staff.

Principal Kenny DeMoss said he was a teacher at PHS when the attacks occurred, and he and students watched events unfold on television in his classroom as the second plane struck the World Trade Center.

“It’s very hard to describe the word ‘shock,’ but I know I was experiencing it like many others,” he said. “That led to anger. And that then led to grief. On that day almost 3,000 people were killed on American soil. “

Among those lost in the attack on the Twin Towers in New York City was PHS alum Mary Lou Hague, a 1992 graduate and former classmate of DeMoss.

Members of the Parkersburg High School Navy Junior ROTC stand at attention during the singing of the national anthem Wednesday during the PHS Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony. (Photo by Michael Erb)

“She was a year younger than I was and a friend of mine,” he said. “On that day she was on the 89th floor of the South Tower when she tragically lost her life.”

DeMoss paused to compose himself.

“As we move forward from loss, like we did on that day, it helps us keep things in perspective,” he said. “It helps me personally to remember that we can never control the future … but we can sure live for today.”

Lexi Muller, student council president, said she was born a month after the events of Sept. 11, but added she and her classmates have grown up understanding how the world changed on that day.

“Although most of the students here were not born at the time of this event, many of us are still impacted today,” she said. “I’ve been impacted greatly by the stories, videos, and more importantly by the teachers who keep us educated.”

Members of the Parkersburg High School Red Wings line up at Wednesday’s PHS Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony. Students and staff and community members gathered before the start of school to honor those lost in the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. (Photo by Michael Erb)

Muller said she went to New York and visited the 9/11 memorial which stands on the former site of the World Trade Center.

“The best way to honor those who were lost is through the act of remembrance,” she said.

Parkersburg High School Principal Kenny DeMoss speaks during Wednesday’s Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony at PHS. (Photo by Michael Erb)

Parkersburg High School Student Council President Lexi Muller speaks during Wednesday’s Sept. 11 Remembrance Ceremony at the school. (Photo by Michael Erb)

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