HUNTINGTON - Thousands of American flags filled the Spring Hill Cemetery on Wednesday, marking the beginning of a series of events planned by the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District in honor of the lives lost during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The Healing Field
The first of the commemorative events began Wednesday as more than 3,000 American flags were placed at Spring Hill Cemetery in what has become known as the Healing Field.
Kevin Brady, executive director of the Greater Huntington Park & Recreation District, said the flags also serve as a way to honor the 75 victims of the 1970 Marshall plane crash as well as veterans. Brady said he encourages everyone to visit, participate and experience the Healing Field.
"When the wind is blowing a little bit and you walk between the flags, you just get some kind of a spiritual feeling. It's impressive," he said.
The flags will be on display through Wednesday, Sept. 13, and can be purchased for $35 at Spring Hill Cemetery. Previously posted flags held by the owner can be reposted for $15 and retrieved on Sept. 13. Proceeds benefit the Spring Hill Cemetery Memorial Bell Tower Fund. For more information, contact Eldora McCoy at 304-696-5954 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fifth annual Memorial Bell Tower 5K Run/Walk
On Saturday, Sept. 9, people will have a chance to walk or run through the cemetery alongside the Healing Field as part of the fifth annual Memorial Bell Tower 5K Run/Walk, which will begin at 8 a.m. near the Memorial Bell Tower by the cemetery's main entrance off Norway Avenue.
This closed-course event will start and finish next to the Memorial Bell Tower and will take place on portions of the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health, named for Huntington native Dr. Paul Ambrose, who died at age 32 aboard Flight 77 when it struck the Pentagon during the attacks.
Registration is $30 and $10 for students in grades K-12. Online registration can be made at www.aptiming.com. Trophies will be presented to first, second and third male and female finishers, and ribbons will be presented to remaining finishers.
Proceeds will benefit the Spring Hill Cemetery Memorial Bell Tower Fund.
Sponsors for the race include Scott-Sullivan Inc., Mayo Tree Co., Berry's Saw & Mower, Dawson-Thompson Oil Co Inc. and HIMG.
Freedom Ride for Play
The following day, the Park District and the Harley-Davidson dealership at 408 4th St., Huntington, are teaming up for a fundraiser called Freedom Ride for Play, a dam ride-themed poker run that will start at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 10.
Registration begins at noon, and bikers will draw a poker hand of cards picked up along the ride to the Greenup Dam, the Yatesville Lake Dam and the Beech Fork Lake Dam, with the first and fifth cards drawn in Huntington.
The ride will be led by members of the Freedom Rider, which is expected to include about 35 bikers from New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
Last year, the Freedom Riders accompanied the 9/11 artifact from the World Trade Center to Huntington for a dedication ceremony as part of 9/11 memorial services at Spring Hill Cemetery.
Registration is $20 per bike or $60 per single (for the solo elite package of merchandise and dinner) or $100 for a double elite package. Proceeds will benefit the $1.2 million all-inclusive playground planned for St. Cloud Commons.
Patriot Day Ceremony 2017
The Park District's final event, the Patriot Day Ceremony, will take place Monday, Sept. 11, at the cemetery.
The ceremony will commence with the Marshall March of Remembrance at 5:30 p.m. It will involve 75 students marching with 75 American flags from Marshall University's campus to the cemetery, where they will place their flags in the Healing Field.
This year's keynote speaker will be Tom Bowen, of Huntington, who volunteered with FEMA's Urban Search and Rescue and the NYC Office of Emergency Management at Ground Zero in the months following the attack.
The ceremony is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. The World Trade Center Artifact Memorial Plaza will also be unveiled during the ceremony.