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Harford to honor victims of 9/11, an event that, for students, is viewed only through lens of history

Harford County will honor victims of the Sept. 11 2001 terror attacks with a wreath-laying and moment of silence Wednesday morning in front of the county office building at 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air.
Harford County will honor victims of the Sept. 11 2001 terror attacks with a wreath-laying and moment of silence Wednesday morning in front of the county office building at 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air. (Matt Button / Aegis Staff / Baltimore Sun)

Harford County’s student representative on the board of education knows Sept. 11, 2001, was a devastating and life-changing event for so many people. But he only knows about it from his parents and documentaries, not from living it.

Like most students in Harford’s schools, Christian Walker, a senior at C. Milton Wright, was born after the day that changed so many things in this country.

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“While adults see things as being different post-9/11, that’s our life, that’s what we’re used to,” Walker said.

Harford County will honor the fallen heroes who were killed Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorist-driven planes crashed into the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a field in western Pennsylvania, at various ceremonies Wednesday, the 18th anniversary of the attacks.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed, including hundreds of first responders answering the calls for help.

The attack also triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism as well as drastic changes in security.

Walker, who will turn 18 on Nov. 11, is used to taking off his shoes at the airport and going through tight security. Privacy rules and foreign policy have changed.

“That’s our lives now. For us, it’s normal,” Walker said.

The most challenging thing about 9/11 is that what happened on that day changed the course of the country.

“It will have a profound impact on our lives because people of my generation will still be picking up the pieces of the fallout,” he said.

Walker said he doesn’t want to lose sight of the fact that it was a devastating day for the country.

“A lot of lives were lost, a lot of people’s lives were changed,” Walker said. “But I feel people my age never experienced the sense of patriotism or unity that happened after that.”

For a while, the country came together, he said.

“Unfortunately it took something like that to bring the country together,” Walker said. “I’d like to see unity without tragedy.”

Walker’s parents lived outside Washington, D.C., the day a plane crashed into it, which gives him a little more insight into the day because of their stories. It’s their recollection, and from television documentaries, that taught him about the day.

The education in Harford County Public Schools added “a little bit.”

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“Normally on that day, at least in one class, we’d watch a video or do an activity,” Walker said.

Community members admire the artifact and NYFD helmet in the 9/11 memorial at the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company's Dublin Station in this file photo. The fire company will host a 9/11 memorial service at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Dublin station at 1520 Whiteford Road.
Community members admire the artifact and NYFD helmet in the 9/11 memorial at the Darlington Volunteer Fire Company's Dublin Station in this file photo. The fire company will host a 9/11 memorial service at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Dublin station at 1520 Whiteford Road. (MATT BUTTON | AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Homestead)
Honoring the fallen

To pay tribute to the people who died on Sept. 11, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman will start the day with a moment of silence for the victims.

The public is invited to gather with county employees in front of the county government building at 220 S. Main St. in Bel Air at 8:40 a.m., when Glassman will lay a wreath.

A moment of silence will be observed at 8:46 a.m., the time the first plane struck the World Trade Center in New York City.

“Eighteen years ago, our nation was shocked by the 9/11 attacks,” Glassman said. “We will not let the passage of time dim the light of remembrance for the innocent victims of that terrible day. Those who were lost, and their families, will remain in our hearts forever.”

On Wednesday afternoon, former Del. Pat McDonough will continue the flag-waving tradition on the Route 152 overpass on Interstate 95.

“We must never forget this terrible day in our history. Sept. 11th is a day to remember courage, honor and patriotism," McDonough said.

The event is open to the public. People are encouraged to bring their families, friends and flags on Wednesday from 4 to 6 p.m. to remember what happened and honor the heroes of 9/11.

In the evening, Darlington Volunteer Fire Company will host a 9/11 memorial service at 7 p.m. at House 2, the Dublin station, at 1520 Whiteford Road in Dublin.

“We feel that this is an honor that our people died on this day,” Teresa Borden, Darlington fire company secretary who is helping organize the event. “We need to support their families, honor the ones that lost their lives, because they’re a hero. That’s what we do, we stick together, fire companies, and honor our fallen heroes.”

The service will include opening and closing prayers as well as patriotic songs and remarks from Darlington volunteer Christian Doneley.

A piece of metal from one of the Twin Tower buildings that was given to the fire company will be part of the service for people to touch or say a prayer near.

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