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Twentieth anniversary of 9/11 to be commemorated at fire hall

By Tabitha Johnston - Chronicle Staff | Sep 10, 2021

SHEPHERDSTOWN — This Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11, a tragic event that changed the course of American history. The loss of the 2,977 innocent people, who died as the result of jihadists hijacking two airplanes and sending them into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, left the entire nation stunned and in mourning.

In recognition of the landmark anniversary and the continued sorrow felt by those who lost friends and family members on Sept. 9, 2001, the Pack Horse Ford Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution has announced plans to hold a commemoration ceremony tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., in front of the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department’s fire hall. The ceremony is open to the public.

According to the chapter’s treasurer and 9/11 20th Anniversary Commemoration Committee Chair Katherine Genung, plans for the event began last December.

“20 years is a big milestone,” Genung said. “We are honoring the first responders lost in the attack, as well as first responders who we have lost in Jefferson and Berkeley counties in the 20 years since the attack.

“The genesis of the event occurred in December when I realized the 20th anniversary was this year,” Genung said. “I usually erect something in my yard, along a busy road, on special days like Memorial Day, 9/11 and Veterans Day. I designed a banner that I thought would be nice to have up for 9/11 this year. Our chapter board met in January and there was discussion on 9/11. I showed them the banner I’d designed and the event snowballed from there.”

One such banner has since been placed in front of the Shepherdstown Volunteer Fire Department, Genung said. Committee member Kristen Hannah-Huber’s husband works at the SVFD, and helped make the connections there for the banner’s placement and event planning.

“Our committee member, Kristen Hannah-Huber, is the wife of Addison L. Huber, who serves with the department and has been helpful in our planning,” Genung said.

The ceremony’s program will feature a variety of local residents’ involvement. Mayor Jim Auxer will perform the greeting at the beginning of the ceremony. United States Marine Corps member and Pentagon survivor Steve Roberts, of Harpers Ferry, will serve as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. SVFD Chief Ross Morgan and West Virginia State Police Corporal T.S. Perry will speak later in the ceremony about the Jefferson County and Berkeley County first responders whose lives have been lost since 9/11. Sean Reidy, of Kearneysville, will be performing a bagpipe solo of “Amazing Grace,” during the placement of a ceremonial wreath.

According to Genung, the Pack Horse Ford Chapter anticipates the commemoration ceremony will bring insight and comfort to those gathered together.

“The chapter, acting as a bridge to the community, veterans, first responders and survivors in remembering a tragic day in our nation’s past, hopes to expose those with little knowledge of it and comfort the two generations to whom it is a defining moment of their lives,” Genung said. “No single event in the last 20 years has brought Americans closer. The chapter hopes to relive some of that closeness in what have become tumultuous times.”