Fairfax County community members remembered those who lost their lives during the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 in a ceremony Tuesday morning.
During the hour-long memorial event, attendees – including county employees, public safety personnel and elected officials – heard moving reflections from Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova, Fire Chief Ronald Mastin and Police Chief David Rohrer.
“For many of us, Sept. 11 was the day the world changed. It was hard to grasp that America could be the victim of such an attack,” Bulova said as morning sunlight flooded into the forum at Fairfax County Government Center. “Not only did we lose thousands of neighbors, friends and family members that day, America lost a sense of security and safety.”
But Bulova also focused on the unifying bond the tragedy forged in Fairfax County and communities across the nation.
Recalling her morning run on Sept. 12, 2001, she said: “As I ran through the neighborhood, I began to see, house-by-house, people displaying American flags. Flags were also fixed to cars and bridges. By the end of my run, it looked like the Fourth of July, only more so.”
Mastin paid tribute to public safety employees who sacrificed their lives at Ground Zero, and to the families of the first responders who were changed forever by the things they saw.
He too noted the tragedy’s unifying effect. “I think if you asked today if we feel like a safer nation, we would say ‘yes,’” he said.
“I hope this anniversary brings back to us not the horror of what happened on that day, but renews the best of what followed,” Bulova said.
The ceremony concluded with Bulova, Mastin and Rohrer laying a wreath in the county’s 9/11 Memorial Garden.