Feature

Ames Remembers 9/11
09.11.08
 
Ames remembered the tragic events of Sept .11, 2001 during an emotional ceremony held seven years to the day the tragedy occurred.Photo Credit: NASA Ames Research Center / Dominic Hart


MOFFETT FIELD – Ames remembered the tragic events of Sept .11, 2001 during an emotional ceremony held seven years to the day the tragedy occurred.

A small, respectful audience gathered on the lawn of the former Moffett Field parade grounds on Thursday, Sept. 11, 2008, to pay tribute to those who lost their lives on that fateful day now simply known as 9/11.

Hosted by the Admiral William A. Moffett American Legion Post 881 based at Moffett Field, the ceremony brought together soldiers, firefighters, police officers, first responders, American Legion officials, local community leaders, and NASA officials and employees.

It was a day to remember.

It was a day to remember and reflect on the series of events that shaped that horrific day when terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and crashed them, taking thousands of lives.

It was a day that began at 8:45 a.m. when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. A few minutes later at 9:03 a.m., United Airlines Flight 175 stuck the South Tower of the World Trade Center, and shortly thereafter, at 9:43 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 struck the Pentagon. Finally, at 10 a.m., United Airlines Flight 93 slammed into a field near Shanksville, Pa.

And it was also a day to remember not only the many lives that were lost, but also the heroes who helped save the lives of countless other victims of the terrorist attack.

During the ceremony, the American flag was raised and then gently lowered to rest at half mast. Bells were struck slowly in remembrance. The national anthem was sung, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and prayers were said softly.

Carolann Wunderlin, founding post commander of the Admiral William A. Moffett American Legion Post 881, delivered welcome remarks and introduced the various speakers who paid tribute to sacrifices that were made.

NASA Ames Research Center Director S. Pete Worden, himself an Air Force Brigadier General, recalled that day seven years ago when “we came together as a community to share our grief… and to stand tall against terrorism.” Worden paid tribute to the brave people, including Ames’ own Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART), who worked well past exhaustion to help rescue victims, and said that the heroic efforts of September 11 provide a lasting legacy.

The solemn ceremony was marked by symbolism.

Occupying a prominent place in front of the speaker’s podium, stood a long table with only one empty chair because those who lost their lives could be there; a single red rose tied with a red ribbon, an inverted glass, a slice of lemon to signify the bitterness of the event, and a shaker of salt to represent the tears that have been shed.

Another symbolic event involved a fire service tradition, called the “Striking of the three threes” which dated back to the mid-1800s, before the advent of radios, pagers or fire alarms. In those early days, daily announcements were sent from headquarters to firehouses by a system of bell commands and telegraph, and when a firefighter died in the line of duty, headquarters would transit three bell strikes, repeated in three series. The custom has continued to this day.

As a military detachment retired the colors, a mournful bagpipe played Amazing Grace and the solitary sound of Taps pierced the morning air to conclude the remembrance event.

Mike Mewhinney
NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
650-604-3937/207-1323
Michael.S.Mewhinney@nasa.gov


Additional images from NASA Ames 9/11 Remembrance Day 2008:









Ames Remembrance Day 9/11/2008 Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
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Ames Remembrance Day 9/11/2008 Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
Click on the image for full-resolution.

Ames Remembrance Day 9/11/2008 Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
Click on the image for full-resolution.

Ames Remembrance Day 9/11/2008 Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
Click on the image for full-resolution.

Ames Remembrance Day 9/11/2008 Image Credit: NASA Ames Research Center
Click on the image for full-resolution.