Sept. 11 ceremony brings back memories

A parachutist glides in from the sky, dangling an American Flag, near the end of Sunday’s 9/11 memorial service. - Kathy Reed/Whidbey Crosswind
A parachutist glides in from the sky, dangling an American Flag, near the end of Sunday’s 9/11 memorial service.
— image credit: Kathy Reed/Whidbey Crosswind

People of all ages gathered at Windjammer Park for the Sept. 11 memorial ceremony Sunday, memories of the terrorist attacks in 2001 flooding back to them.

“I can’t believe it’s 10 years. It seems like yesterday,” Marilynn Capen said. Her daughter had joined the Navy to fund college before the attacks. Capen said she remembered that on Sept. 11, 2001 the phone started ringing, calling everyone back to the base, including her daughter.

“We were all kind of devastated,” she said, watching over her granddaughters at the ceremony. “The girls’ mother was going back to war. That’s not what I let her go into the Navy for.”

Capen said she’s worried about her daughter, who has been to Iraq several times.

“I’m ready for it to end,” Capen said.

Mercy Reikowski said she turned on the TV in time to see the first of the Twin Towers fall and the second airplane hit the second tower.

“I remember being in shock. I remember thinking this has to be a TV show,” Reikowski said.

The attacks made her even more patriotic, Reikowski said. Shortly afterward, Reikowski joined the Navy and was in for eight years. She was on the USS Abraham Lincoln for a nine-month deployment, which included sending one of the first jets to bomb the Middle East.

“I’m just very proud to be an American and to have the military, firefighters and policemen that helped out,” Reikowski said.

Ashley Sanders was in fifth grade when the attacks happened. She saw the footage on TV in the morning and her class watched it all day at school.

“I don’t think I even grasped it until I saw people leaving the tower and jumping off,” Sanders said.

Geni Muehlhausen was getting ready for work when she saw the attacks on TV.

“I felt shocked and scared,” she said. As a preschool teacher, she said she had to help stunned parents cope as they dropped off their children.

Christina Marine was 16 at the time of the attacks.

“I felt devastated, blank. I just didn’t understand why anybody could be so cruel,” Marine said.

“I think to me it’s the day you remember what you were doing, like J.F.K.’s assassination. It’s a historical marker for me,” said Valerie John, who’d watched the events unfold in Surrey, B.C.

“I’m proud of the community that comes together after something like that happens. It’s amazing,” Sanders said.

“There was a neat picnic here yesterday and it’s neat today,” Capen said about the ceremony. “I’m glad everyone’s pulling together.”




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