9/11 ceremonies set for Wednesday; commissioners Wantz, Rothstein remember when ‘everything stopped’

Eighteen years after nearly 3,000 people died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Carroll County residents will gather to honor the fallen and remember Wednesday.

The 9/11 Memorial Day of Service and Remembrance will be held at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center, 50 Kate Wagner Road, Westminster, starting at 8:30 a.m. Mount Airy will hold a Sept. 11 ceremony from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Pine Grove chapel and cemetery, 787 South Main Street.


Commissioners Stephen Wantz, R-District 1, and Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, were in very different places then. Wantz was a firefighter in Baltimore County, Pikesville Station 2, while Rothstein was stationed in Germany with the military.

“It’s a day which I’ll never forget," Wantz said in an interview. “It’s one of those days where you remember where you were."


Wantz was on night shift then. He said the firefighters sat silently and looked at each other, at a loss for words throughout that “tragic day.”

Carroll County is home to a piece of the wreckage from one of the Twin Towers that fell 18 years ago, Wantz said. A piece of steel is on display at the Carroll County Public Safety Training Center.

“This ceremony will take place beside that piece of steel," Wantz said.

While in Germany, Rothstein worked in intelligence, but on Sept. 11, 2001, his unit’s assignment changed to guarding American housing.

“Everything stopped. That day is a day where everything stopped," Rothstein said.

His wife and two young children were with him in Germany.

“From that point on, we were in a protective situation," Rothstein said in an interview. “We didn’t understand the scope of the threat that was there.”

He recalled German neighbors lighting candles and bringing homemade food to the soldiers on guard duty to show their support.

“I remember walking the kids to school in Germany and there were armed guards," Rothstein said.

Years before, Rothstein worked in the Pentagon, just down the hall from where the building was hit on 9/11. He knew people who died in the attack, he said.

“We should never forget," Rothstein said. “From that point forward, I found myself in Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times for the rest of my career.”

The ceremony in Westminster will include a presentation of the colors, a prayer, a moment of silence, speakers, and a performance of “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes, according to the online event page. The event is planned to be held outside, weather permitting.


In Mount Airy, the 9/11 ceremony will pay special tribute to two former Mount Airy residents who died.

CW4 William Ruth, of the Army Reserve, and Lt. Comm. Ronald Vauk, of the U.S. Naval Reserve, were both killed in the attack on the Pentagon, according to Carroll County Times archives. The Lance Cpl. Robert W. Deane Detachment No. 770 Marine Corps League will lay wreaths for Vauk and Ruth, according to Mount Airy’s website.

Mayor Patrick Rockinberg will speak, Boy Scouts will carry the flag, and the Marine Corps will perform a volley, event organizer Rosie Beall said.

For Beall, 9/11 strikes a personal chord.

“My husband’s a volunteer firefighter and I’m in the auxiliary,” Beall said. “It hit home.

“I like to see it remembered."

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