Virginia War Memorial hosting Sept. 11 commemoration
The ceremony will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Northern Virginia, and those who died in the downed jet airliner in Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.
The keynote address will be given by Daniel Fauls, a U.S. Navy veteran who barely escaped injury during the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon and returned the next day to help assess damage and aid in recovery efforts. He then volunteered to go to New York City aboard the USNS Comfort to assist victims there.
Fauls will be introduced by his daughter, Danielle, a 21-year-old Air Force ROTC student at the University of Virginia who was one year old at the time of the attack.
The public is invited and encouraged to attend the ceremony, which will begin at 10:40 a.m. with a medley of patriotic music provided by the 380th Army Band Ensemble followed by welcoming comments from Dr. Clay Mountcastle, Virginia War Memorial Director.
Sailors from Navy Recruiting Station Richmond will ring the ship’s bell from the USS Virginia in memory of each of the 125 Virginians who died at the Pentagon.
Sept. 11 has been designated annually by the United States Congress as Patriot Day, a National Day of Mourning, to honor and remember the 2,997 persons who died and the more than 6,000 injured as the result of the terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and at The Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.
“We must never forget our fellow Americans and fellow Virginians who died during the terrorist attacks twenty year ago on 9/11/01,” said Dr. Mountcastle. “It is difficult to believe that it has been two decades since this terrible day yet it seems almost like yesterday. There is no more fitting place than on the hallowed grounds of the Virginia War Memorial to join together and reaffirm our patriotism and resolves to stand up to any who would attack our great nation.
“I not only invite everyone to bring their family and friends to participate in this solemn ceremony but to come visit the many new exhibits in the Memorial’s Galanti Education Center and Wright Pavilion. These exhibits include an actual slab of stone from The Pentagon still scarred with jet fuel burns from the 9/11 attack,” noted Dr. Mountcastle.
“Children of all ages and their parents are also invited to join author Tara Riley Krohn, as she reads from her picture book, Unfurling The Freedom Flag, in our Veterans Art Gallery immediately following the conclusion of the Patriot Day Ceremony,” Dr. Mountcastle added.
There is no charge to attend the Commonwealth’s Patriot Day Ceremony or to visit the Virginia War Memorial. The Memorial will be open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Parking is also free but limited in the Memorial’s surface lot and parking deck. In case of inclement weather, the Ceremony will be held in the Memorial’s Shrine of Memory-20th Century.