Boonsboro remembers 9/11 victims, heroes at annual event
Members of the Hagerstown Ali Ghan Shriners ride take part in the annual Remembrance Parade in Boonsboro Tuesday in honor of the fire, rescue and law enforement personnel who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. (By Colleen McGrath/Staff Photographer / September 11, 2012)
There were wars, a catastrophic hurricane and every family’s private trials.
But the day will never be erased, according to Sally Mahoney. And small things can bring it back full-screen, like a plane flying overhead or a siren in the distance.
The terrorists who attacked the United States didn’t defeat us, the Washington County woman shared Tuesday.
“But they did change us,” Mahoney said. “They made us less naive. They made us less likely to forget.”
That sentiment was evident Tuesday when much of the nation’s attention was riveted on New York City and other sites that marked the anniversary of an event that has scorched our memories with indelible images — the collapse of the Twin Towers, a fiery hole in the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville that became a mass grave.
But in the small town of Boonsboro, area residents like Mahoney participated in their own heartfelt commemoration.
A giant American flag stretched across Main Street, patriotic music blared from loudspeakers and thousands of people lined the sidewalks on a late summer evening.
It was the annual Sept. 11 Remembrance Parade, sponsored by First Hose Co. of Boonsboro — an opportunity, said Vernon Brown, to honor the firefighters and police officers who lost their lives on that fateful day.
Brown, a member of First Hose Co. and event organizer, said the parade has been held every year since 9/11.
“It’s become a tradition, something people look forward to,” he said. “They really appreciate that an event like this is held, especially when we hang the flag. That always gets a big reaction.”
As in past years, the parade featured floats, emergency personnel, veterans, scouts and majorettes.
Mahoney, who recently moved to the Boonsboro area, said it was “a pleasant surprise to learn that an anniversary parade was being held locally. It’s an appropriate way to observe the day.”
Lisa Rihard of Boonsboro said she tries to attend the parade every year “because it’s important to me to be here.”
Rihard, a nurse with Meritus Health, said she was working at Washington County Hospital on Sept. 11, 2001, when the attacks occurred.
“We were all on alert after the attack on the Pentagon,” she recalled. “We didn’t know the number of injuries and whether or not they might be transferring the wounded to our hospital. It’s something I’ll always remember.”
While it takes a lot of effort to coordinate the parade, Brown said it’s worth it.
“I don’t consider it work. I love to do it,” he said.
Brown said a memorial service honoring emergency personnel who died Sept. 11 was planned at First Hose Co. after the parade.