City of Fallon ceremony to 'never forget' 9/11

On Sunday's fourth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks that struck the U.S., Fallon City Councilman John Tewell said there was simply one reason why he and the council choose to conduct an annual ceremony - to never forget.

"We are here and this monument is here to remind us how fragile our freedom is," Tewell said to the crowd gathered at Fallon City Hall's courtyard. "I ask that we never forget the events of that day."

Tewell reminded the crowd that Fallon Public Works Director Jerry Mayfield went to New York City to retrieve a piece of steel lying at ground zero from one of the Twin Towers that fell in the attacks.

That beam is now part of the city's 9/11 monument, which was designed by local architect Frank Woodliff.

NAS Fallon Navy Cmdr. Doug Russell, said 9/11 was not only difficult for him on a military level, but also very personally.

His wife was in flight on the same day of the attacks, and his friend Navy Lt. Kevin Shaffer was critically injured in the attack on the Pentagon.

Russell's wife's flight was diverted to Gander, Newfoundland, where she spent seven days living in a church waiting to come home.

Shaffer was working in the Navy's command center at the Pentagon when an airliner crashed directly into his work space.

"Kevin, though his uniform had literally been melted onto his body, managed to crawl out of the command center," Russell said. "Even with second- and third-degree burns over 40 percent of his body, he managed to survive."

Russell said he would like people to remember where they were and what they were feeling on Sept. 11, 2001, in order to fully appreciate the tragedy.

"Remember the shock," he said. "Remember the pain. Remember the anger. But most of all, remember the pride of watching our nation's police and fire professionals selflessly risking their lives. Remember how this nation of communities came together to help those in need. Remember that tonight there is a police officer on patrol, a fireman on guard just the way they've always been and always will be, watching over this community. Remember tonight as you enjoy your dinner with your loved ones or as you sleep soundly in your beds, that somewhere there is a sailor, a soldier, a Marine and an airman also standing watch."


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