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Anniversary of 9/11 remembered

On the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States, people across the country found ways to remember the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost. Some residents put small American flags in their yards, and businesses displayed signs, including So Dear 2 My Heart, which had a flag in its Corydon storefront window with the words ‘Never forget.’ On Sunday, many flags were lowered to half-staff and church programs, like the one at Northwest Christian Church in Depauw, had a patriotic theme. Girl Scout Troop 314 invited emergency service workers to a dinner on Sunday, and, on Monday, students at St. Joseph Catholic School in Corydon had a 9/11 program.
A New Salisbury man and his design team were faced with a difficult but inspiring task of turning a piece of steel from the World Trade Center, in New York City, where the majority of lives were lost, into a memorial to be displayed at the New Albany Fire Department headquarters.
The six-foot piece of steel memorial was designed by John King of New Salisbury and others at Bruce Fox Inc. in New Albany.
King said the chosen concept involved creating a concrete base for the steel which was distressed to look like it might have been a part of the building.
‘Rebar was intentionally rusted and used as brackets,’ he said.
The back panel of the memorial is solid aluminum and resembles one of the concrete facades left in the rubble, King said, and aluminum plates with the images of all the firefighters who lost their lives are mounted on the back plate.
‘We draped an American flag over one side much like one of the more recognizable photos of the post-attack,’ he said.
The plate on the base of the structure contains the names of police, port authority, Emergency Medical Service and others who lost their lives.
‘We solicited help from Corydon resident Mike Rosenbarger, who works for Glidden coatings to seal the piece of steel,’ King said. ‘We didn’t have the experience with this particular sealer product. Mike was more than happy to re-arrange his schedule and came by the factory to spray the steel.’
The memorial, which will permanently be displayed at the fire department’s headquarters at the corner of East Fourth and Spring streets, also contains a wall plaque with the image of a lone firefighter and a description of the events on Sept. 11, 2001. The bottom wood base and Formica was donated by Wood Tek in New Albany.
New Albany Fire Department Chief Matt Juliot and firefighter Joe Squier, also of Harrison County, spent the past two years working with the port authorities of New York and New Jersey to secure the piece. Several thousand fire departments from across the country made requests, but only 1,500 were available.
The New Albany Fire Department also has on display 50 memorial cards representing firefighters who died in the terrorist attacks, honoring the 10-year anniversary of Sept. 11. The cards, which have been on display for a couple weeks, will be taken down today (Wednesday).
Framed cards representing each of the 343 firefighters who died in the attacks are divided among six Indiana cities.
Scout dinner a tradition
Girl Scout Troop 314 in Elizabeth honored firefighters from Elizabeth, New Middletown and Boone Township, along with Harrison County Hospital EMS personnel, law enforcement and military members, with a supper Sunday at The Lighthouse United Methodist Church.
Stephanie Tostaine, who shares Scout leader duties with Regina Cory and Cheryl Johnson, said this is something the Troop has done each year since Sept. 11, 2001, for those ‘who don’t get recognized enough.’
Because of the 10-year anniversary, members of the Troop decided to go ‘all out’ and used real plates and silverware. The meal consisted of fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, coleslaw, roll and desserts, including 20 pies made by Agnes Sommers.
‘We’ve kind of left it in God’s hands,’ Jennifer Taylor, a former Troop leader who initially started the dinner along with Dee Behr, said when asked how do they know how many to plan to feed.
About 128 attended Sunday’s dinner and program.
‘Some of them have been here every year,’ Taylor said.
All those who are considered first responders when disaster strikes received a gift, and Miranda Kaake, who is working toward her Gold Award (the Girl Scouts equivalent to the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Award), performed a dance and had her five young students do a dance for those in attendance.
A slide show of last year’s dinner followed, and the Scouts read thank-you messages to the firefighters, EMS, police officers and military personnel.
‘It just amazes me that it’s been 10 years,’ Taylor said, adding that 15,000 people survived the attack. ‘Do you know why? Because of first responders … They had a duty; they had a mission.
‘I know a lot of you … put your life on the line every single day,’ she said. ‘You may not come home when you go out.’
Taylor said the dinner, which is open to all first responders in Harrison County, always takes place on Sept. 11 as a way for the Scout members to give back to their community.
‘It empowers the girls to be leaders,’ she said.
The Rev. Rex Jones, who came to The Lighthouse UMC in July, called the dinner and program ‘impressive.’
‘It’s a bigger deal than I even thought about,’ he said.
Air traffic controller talks about 9/11
Greg Lueke, a retired air traffic controller and husband of St. Joe’s preschool teacher Stacey Lueke, spoke Monday to a couple of classes about his job and experience from Sept. 11.
Stephen Westrick, St. Joe’s principal, spoke first to the students about what he remembered from Sept. 11. Westrick, who was an assistant superintendent in northwest Indiana at the time, said he was off work because of a doctor’s appointment and was watching the news when the first plane hit the tower.
‘All I thought was, ‘Is this an accident or a mistake?’ ‘ he said. ‘Of course, when the second plane hit the second tower we knew it was not an accident. We knew it was an attack on the U.S.’
Westrick said he remembered gas stations were full of cars that afternoon, and, after checking in with his school office, he learned many parents were pulling their children out of school as a reaction to the attacks.
Lueke was working on Sept. 11, 2001, as an air traffic controller in Salt Lake City. He said his control group received word of the first tower being struck at about 6:45 a.m. (Mountain Time).
Lueke said most people in the room went back about their work, thinking it was an accident and felt bad for those involved, but they didn’t have a grasp of what was coming. About 30 minutes later, Lueke’s group received word from the command center that a second plane intentionally crashed into the second tower and that ‘our country was under attack in some form.’
On a normal day, Lueke said their fax machine receives about two feet of information from the command center, but that day, it received about 25 feet of constant updates.
At about 7:30 a.m., Lueke said the FAA ordered a national ground stoppage, meaning no planes could leave the airport, then a few minutes later, after the Pentagon was struck by the third plane, NORAD ordered the first ever Security Control of Air Traffic and Air Navigation Aids. The plan ordered all U.S. air traffic to be grounded and brought all U.S. airspace to condition ATC Zero, which means closed. All aircraft already in the air had to land as soon as possible at the nearest suitable location.
Years later, the 9/11 Commission Report made reference to this unprecedented order and commended the air traffic controllers who carried it out.
Lueke said every plane in the United States, approximately 7,000, was grounded by 10:15 a.m. (12:15 eastern time) with the exception of military and a few unresponsive aircraft. The order was in effect for three days.
Lueke said it was controlled chaos at the airport.
‘Everybody was busy, doing their best to control their emotions,’ he said.
He also said anywhere between 60 and 80 F-16 fighter jets took off from the Salt Lake City location. He said it was strange to see the military take over the airport, because he normally would be in control of departures.
‘They were gone like lightning,’ he said of the F-16s.
Lueke said President George W. Bush was aboard Air Force One flying over the Gulf of Mexico for at least a couple hours and was in the air for a total of about five hours.
Lueke, who retired in 2006, spoke to the students not only about Sept. 11, but also detailed his job in general, and showed video clips on about air traffic control.
Information for this story was also gathered by Editor Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor.