Re­mem­ber­ing them all, 15 years later

Maryland Independent - - Community Forum -

It’s not hy­per­bole to sug­gest that the his­tory of Amer­i­can se­cu­rity can be di­vided into two pe­ri­ods: be­fore 9/11 and af­ter 9/11.

On Sun­day, South­ern Mary­lan­ders will join the na­tion as we re­mem­ber the 2,996 lives lost in the ter­ror at­tacks of Sept. 11, 2001, in­clud­ing 343 fire­fight­ers and 72 law en­force­ment of­fi­cers. More than 6,000 oth­ers were in­jured. It was the dead­li­est day in U.S. his­tory for first re­spon­ders. And in many ways, it changed us all for­ever.

Many of us who are adults can re­call ex­actly where we were 15 years ago, that tem­per­ate Tues­day morn­ing un­der a cloud­less, cerulean-blue sky. A beau­ti­ful morn­ing that turned hor­rific be­fore Charles County had its sec­ond cup of cof­fee.

That aw­ful day, ter­ror­ist hi­jack­ers de­lib­er­ately crashed two com­mer­cial jets into the Twin Tow­ers of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York, and an­other into the Pen­tagon. A hand­ful of brave pas­sen­gers stormed the cock­pit of a fourth airliner and fought the ter­ror­ists, ul­ti­mately crash­ing the jet into a field in west­ern Penn­syl­va­nia be­fore it could turn into an­other guided mis­sile. The first crash into the north tower, when the news broke, seemed like a bizarre, freak ac­ci­dent. How could air traf­fic con­trol go so wrong? Was the pi­lot ill? What could have hap­pened? When the sec­ond airliner slammed the south tower, sadly, sickly, we knew it was some­thing else.

For those not al­ready tuned in and un­able to look away from the tele­vi­sion, there were phone calls telling us to turn on the news, the shock and hor­ror of the video and pho­tos of the at­tack and the col­lapse of the Twin Tow­ers, ef­forts to reach friends and loved ones feared to be in harm’s way, and try­ing to make sense of what had hap­pened.

Then came the news that hit South­ern Mary­land most di­rectly. An­other jet­liner — Amer­i­can Air­lines Flight 77 — had crashed into the Pen­tagon, killing nine peo­ple from this area among the 125 who per­ished.

Kris Romeo Bishun­dat, 23, of Wal­dorf, was a Navy petty of­fi­cer as­signed to the Pen­tagon just three months be­fore the at­tack.

Donna Marie Bowen, 42, of Wal­dorf, was a wife and mother of three and a Ver­i­zon tele­phone worker as­signed to an Army bud­get­ing of­fice.

Sharon S. Carver, 38, of Wal­dorf, was a civil­ian ac­coun­tant for the Army.

An­gela M. Houtz, 27, of La Plata, was a civil­ian an­a­lyst with the Of­fice of Naval In­tel­li­gence.

Shel­ley A. Mar­shall, 37, of Mar­bury, was a bud­get an­a­lyst with the De­fense In­tel­li­gence Agency.

Ger­ard P. “Jerry” Moran Jr., 39, of Up­per Marl­boro, was an en­gi­neer­ing con­trac­tor with the Navy and soft­ball and pow­er­lift­ing coach at St. Mary’s Ryken High School.

Marvin Roger Woods, 57, of Great Mills, was a re­tired Navy com­mu­ni­ca­tions chief who worked as a civil­ian com­mu­ni­ca­tions spe­cial­ist at the Pen­tagon.

John D. Yam­nicky Sr., 71, of Wal­dorf, was a re­tired Navy test pi­lot who was a pas­sen­ger aboard the airliner.

Ed­mond Young Jr., 22, of Owings, was a civil­ian tech­ni­cian who was as­sist­ing a gen­eral with a com­puter prob­lem when the airliner struck the build­ing.

We re­mem­ber them, and we honor them.

Ar­ti­cles in to­day’s pa­per fea­ture re­flec­tions by lo­cals on their ex­pe­ri­ences that day 15 years ago, and on what changed in the af­ter­math, as well as a lo­cal fam­ily aim­ing to keep the mem­ory of one of our lo­cal 9/11 vic­tims go­ing strong.

Please take a mo­ment Sun­day to honor the five men and four women from South­ern Mary­land who lost their lives that day, among so many oth­ers, as well as the sac­ri­fice and brav­ery of fire­fight­ers and law en­force­ment of­fi­cers, and reg­u­lar civil­ians. Also, take a mo­ment to re­flect on the na­tional unity and re­solve that de­vel­oped in the wake of the worst ter­ror at­tack on Amer­i­can soil. Re­mem­ber in these times of strife and un­rest, that we are, and al­ways have been, more alike than we are dif­fer­ent. Let that help us con­tinue to heal.

And let us never for­get.

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