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Veterans Council announces Memorial Day Commemoration and 9/11 memorial unveiling

The North Central Arkansas Veterans Council is again sponsoring the May 30, 2022, Annual Memorial Day Commemoration at Veterans Plaza in Mountain Home, AR.  The host organization is Alley White American Legion Post 52 with Commander Lisa Gunter serving as Master-of-Ceremonies.

This year, the Memorial Day Commemoration will have two keynote speakers, retired U.S. Army LTC Mary Walker and former USAF Sergeant Reverend Jami Scott.   Music will again be provided by an ensemble of the Mountain Home High School Band.  Colors will be provided by the participating Veterans Organizations and Honors by the Honor Guard of Alley White American Legion Post 52. 

The dedication of the 9/11 memorial will be held following the Veterans Memorial Day Ceremony. It will be held at the same location Veterans Plaza in Mountain Home. The memorial dedication will be held at 11 a.m.

Immediately after the two ceremonies cupcakes and coffee will be served at VFW Post 3246.

KTLO is providing sound and broadcast of the festivities.  In the event of inclement weather, there is no alternate date or location, and cancellation will be announced on KTLO.

Concept art of Mountain Home’s upcoming 9/11 memorial. Photo by Tommy Felicia.

Mountain Home’s 9/11 memorial came about after retired FDNY Captain Joseph Russo presented Mountain Home with a 50-pound piece of steel on behalf of the FDNY during last year’s 9/11 ceremony marking the 20th anniversary of the single largest terrorist attack on the United States.

Russo, Tommy Felicia’s great uncle, worked with Felicia’s grandfather, Vincent Felicia of Mountain Home, to obtain the piece of steel from the Twin Towers. Sadly, Vincent Felicia passed away on Sept. 2, mere days before the city would be presented with the piece of steel, he worked so hard to procure.

Steel from the Twin Towers is managed by the FDNY and has become difficult to obtain, as much of the remaining steel has already been used for other memorials or worked into the hulls and frames of U.S. Navy ships like the U.S.S. New York.

The memorial will see the steel suspended between two 6 foot tall concrete pillars designed to look like the Twin Towers. The foot of the base will feature the words “Never Forget,” while the date of the attacks will be displayed on the side of the memorial. The memorial will also include a silhouette of the Pentagon and the number 93 to represent flight United 93.

A plaque with information pertaining to the events of 9/11 will also be installed.

The 9/11 terrorist attacks were a defining moment for the United States, which would launch the War on Terror mere months after the dust of that day settled.

On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, thousands of Americans’ lives ended after terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger planes and crashed them into both towers of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Altogether, almost 3,000 people would lose their lives, including the first responders who rushed headfirst into danger to try and save those trapped inside the Pentagon and the Twin Towers.

The passengers onboard United 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania, heroically stepped forward and fought their hijackers in an attempt to regain control of the plane. The plane would crash in a field due to the struggle inside of the flight’s cockpit.

The death toll can still be felt today as many of 9/11’s first responders still suffer and die from illnesses resulting from that day.

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