WE SHOULD NEVER FORGET…..SEPT 11 2001 It is hard to believe that there are many young people now….that are approaching driving age…..voting age…etc….that were alive, but unaware or have little memory of what happened on 9/11. I think it is important to never forget that tragic day. Everyone remembers where they were…what they were doing ….when they learned of the attacks on Washington DC and the two attacks on the World Trade Centers. I was at home. I was not watching the news or TV. I received a frantic call from my fellow County Commissioner Bob Tebay. I still remember his comments. “Are you watching TV” he asked. When I said no, he replied “Rick, we are under attack” I quickly turned on the news to see the horror going on. How could this be? Why would some evil sick mind want to attack the United States….which is a good country…with good people and good hearts? Over the next hours and days….we were all in a state of shock. As Commissioners, we dealt with monitoring law enforcement, 911, other emergency services, and the inflow of a substantial amount of air traffic which had been grounded at our airport. I remember that the County Commission organized a group of veterans to come to the County Commission. The small Commission Chambers was packed. Each of us made some brief remarks. Bob Tebay and Ken Merritt were both veterans. I was not, however, my father served in the US Army during WWII. My older half brother Gary Hellberg, who was handicapped and I helped care for until his passing, had been without his father since birth. His father was killed in Germany by a sniper during WWII. I understood what sacrifice meant. As I looked over the room of veterans, some young, some old, I became emotional ….thinking of my brother’s father….and my dad…and the attack on Pearl Harbor , as that had to be THEIR 9/11…and this was my generations Pearl Harbor. At that time I realized this was a moment in life that I would have ever lasting respect for our military, our police, fire and emergency services. I also have maintained the strong belief that we can not let this fade out of our memory. This could happen again.. We must be ever vigilant to protect our nation and our people. As the days wore on….we discovered that we lost one of our very own Parkersburg Citizens. …Mary Lou Hague. We also learned that at least one of the hijacked planes actually flew over the Mid Ohio Valley …right above the Wood County and Jackson County area. The events of 9/11 clearly have changed the way we as citizens deal with life, travel, etc. But, it is obvious that our heart and soul as a nation remains in tact. I have a West Virginia 9/11 memorial license plate on my car…and as it states and as I hope…..”WE SHALL NOT FORGET” ! West Virginians are strong! They are free! And, they NEVER FORGET. God bless America. God Bless West Virginia. God bless our military and emergency responders. God bless the victims and families of that tragic day Sept 11 2001.