WORTHINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) – COVID-19 has derailed the traditional tributes to September, 11th. The sentiment and message about Patriot’s Day hasn’t changed.
For the second consecutive year in Worthington, volunteers from the American Legion Lesure-Blackston Post 239 planted 2,977 American flags along the corners of the Village Green on High St. and Dublin Granville Road. The precise number represents the number of lives lost during the terror attacks on September 11th, 2001.
“America was attacked on its own soil. And those who lost their lives… they need to be remembered,” said Glenn Luksik, the American Legion post commander.
Luksik led a small group Friday who lowered the large flag at the Village Green to half staff, played Taps, and saluted with a cannon being fired. The streamed was online starting at 8:46 a.m. That was a nod to the time when Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.
Firefighters held a similar flag lowering ceremony at the Worthington Fire Department at the same time.
“It was an experience you’ll never forget. It changed our profession forever. It changed our world forever. And we want to make sure this new generation understands that,” said Worthington Fire Chief Mark Zambito.
The fire chief recalled the feeling of panic and sense of duty on 9/11 and the sweeping patriotism he witnessed in the days that followed the attacks.
“We need to let them know what it felt like on that morning,” he said of his younger firefighters. “And I hunger for that unity and strength that we felt those following days after that.”
A small group of parents set up a socially distant gathering on the Village Green Friday morning while their children attended a first day preschool orientation. Surrounded by thousands of American flags, some families were talking about the positive effects to come out of the tragedy.
“I love driving down the streets of Worthington and seeing the flags and being able to celebrate the resilience that we have,” said Zeke Fowler.
The father of two children explained he wants his kids to understand the significance of Patriot’s Day each year and for them to learn about the events.
“I’m definitely proud to see Worthington representing what we stand for and who we are so we’re not going to forget,” said Zeke Fowler.
At noon, city leaders hosted a live virtual event with music and recorded messages. You can watch both ceremonies here.