Warren County remembers

September 11 Service honors fallen heroes

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Jack Patterson plays the bagpipes while members of the John Gertsch Memorial Honor Guard raise the flags during Tuesday’s Warren County 9/11 Service at Warren County Memorial Park.

Pearl Harbor.

Kennedy’s assassination.

September 11, 2001.

There are just a few seminal days in American history where people who lived through an event remember exactly where they were and what they were doing.

9/11 is definitely one of those days.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton The Warren County Emergency Service Memorial includes a piece of steel from the World Trade Center towers.

It precipitated the longest war in our history.

It forever altered our perception of national security.

And the Warren County September 11 Service – as it has for every 9/11 since 2006 – provided an opportunity to stop and remember.

Ruth Seebeck noted at the outset of Tuesday’s event that the terrorists who perpetrated the attacked “tried to destroy the fabric of America.”

Visually, that’s represented with the Field of Flags – one for each of the 2,996 killed as well as 298 Pennsylvania flags for the servicemembers who have been killed in the ensuing armed conflicts.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton Conewango Township K9 Officer Scott Neiswonger lights a candle in memory of his partner, K9 Choper during Tuesday’s 9/11 event held at Warren County Memorial Park.

Seebeck noted that the victims of the attack came from 115 countries, were as old s 85 and as young as two and included 11 unborn children.

Bunky Froman, who has been inspirational in the September 11 project, spoke about how the planes could have had many more people on board than they did and that there could have been many more people working in the towers than there wound up being.

“Where was God on that day? I know where my God was,” he said. “He was very busy.”

All of the firefighters, police, first responders and veterans were recognized, including a special recognition for K9 Choper, who died earlier this summer in a training exercise.

National Guard Major General (retired) Eric Weller was the keynote speaker.

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton The Warren County Civil Air Patrol presents the Missing Man Table during Tuesday’s 9/11 event.

Weller walked through many of the changes brought about by 9/11 – both civilian and military.

For civilians, it meant not being able to walk family members to the gate at airports, increased security at courthouses and stadiums and not having to take your shoes off to board a flight.

“Government (was) not as big as it is today,” he said. “All security was beefed up. (There was a) increase in fear and anxiety.”

Weller said he joined the reserves after college and assumed it would be a limited commitment.

By 1997 he was full time and still can’t talk about some missions he was involved in with “three-letter agencies.”

Times Observer photo by Josh Cotton The Warren County Emergency Service Memorial includes a piece of steel from the World Trade Center towers.

Post 9/11, he noted that the average days of pay for aviators and non-aviators increased significantly.

“Readiness demands have increased exponentially,” he said.

While he said that the efforts of the terrorists on 9/11 was to instill fear but the result was “increased resolve” that did “wake up a sleeping giant.”

“Why is it so important to talk about that day?,” he asked. “To tell the story to anyone who will listen.”