Members of the Waverly community marked 9/11 with a brief ceremony at the Waverly Area Veterans Post on Saturday.
Phil Trimble, a retired Iraq veteran and member of the AMVETS, and Mayor Adam Hoffman, as well as others, gave brief statements against a backdrop of American flags flying at half-staff on a day with a crystal clear blue sky. A sign near the entrance to the parking lot where the ceremony was held said it best: “All gave some, some gave all.”
Crystal Moore sang the national anthem to start the ceremony.
Both speakers urged the audience to focus on unity.
“I want you all to take a moment to reflect on Sept. 12, 2001, and who we were (that day) when our nation came together after the horrific attacks of the previous day,” Hoffman said. “We banded together, we locked in arms. We had hoped together, we cried together, we were a whole nation at that time, without party lines, without a wealth of troubles.
“As we move forward in our own lives, in our country and our community, I ask all of you to take just a brief moment and reflect on 9/12. … with the amount of divisiveness that’s in our country, in our community, I implore all of you to take the challenge … (and) remember who we were on 9/12 and be that person, be that community, be that togetherness that we provided to one another.”
Dr. Susan Vallem, a clinical social worker at Waverly Health Center, shared some of her experiences following the tragic events 20 years ago. She recalled visiting New York City following 9/11. Part of her job, at the time, she said, was to take family members into Ground Zero and help them begin the grieving process. She also took survivors as well, helping guide them through “survivor guilt,” she said.
“You can imagine the trauma, the displacement, the lack of control, the grief that was happening,” Vallem said. “All of that uncertainty.”
She also talked about the unwavering amount of resiliency she witnessed.
“One of my favorite images still is an elderly veteran who lived near Ground Zero in an apartment and every morning he would go up and wave an American flag because he said, ‘I want the workers to know what they’re working for and how wonderful this country is,’” she said.
Don Ryan, VFW Post 2208 Commander, honored the military personnel and civilians that lost their lives that day, including Waverly native Karen Kincaid, who perished on Flight 77. Dan Phillips, an EMT at WHC, honored the medical workers that lost their lives while trying to save as many as they could.
During his closing remarks, Trimble offered a bold message. The WAVP honor guard fired volleys to honor the victims and first responders who rushed in to the World Trade Center and Pentagon to help.
“That, still to this day, gives me goosebumps,” Trimble said. “This is a common scene to myself and fellow veterans. On (this day), that’s not just talking about veterans of the military. That’s talking about all of us. We all lost a part of us on that day. … and today, we come together to remember that some lost all.”