World Trade Center Flagpole Finds Permanent Home in Hilliard

Listen to the Story

Flagpole from World Trade Center now in Hilliard(Photo: Boyce Lancaster/WOSU)
Flagpole from World Trade Center now in Hilliard(Photo: Boyce Lancaster/WOSU)

Communities across the nation marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks in a variety of ways yesterday.  Several Central Ohio communities used a most revered symbol of America to honor those who died on 9/11.

Several hundred people gathered Sunday morning for a 9 o’clock ceremony near downtown Hilliard.  The event was a mix of politicians, proclamations bagpipes, and speeches.

“Remember with me the horrific scene that unfolded on September 11, 2001 as we witnessed an unprecedented attack on mainland America,” said Hilliard mayor Don Schonhardt.

The Twin Towers fell.  But in the World Trade Center plaza several flagpoles remained standing.  One has now been transplanted to Hilliard.

As an honor guard of first responders prepared to raise the colors on the still scarred flagpole, a soft breeze blew the lanyard back and forth. Then a large American flag sped swiftly to the top of the pole.  It was then solemnly lowered to half staff.

When the program was over, some in the crowd, like Shirley Cowgill, came up for a closer look.

“Nothing flies like Old Glory,” Cowgill said.  “It’s the most beautiful flag in the world.  And what it represents is so perfect.”

Q: I notice you’re touching the flagpole, can you tell me why you’re doing that?

“Oh I just, I just felt that I wanted to because it represents so much,” Cowgill said.  “So many people that lost their lives that same day and yet they stood.  It’s hard to put into words you know?”

In Hilliard one large flag was the focal point for ceremonies.  In neighboring Dublin almost 3-thousand full-sized flags filled a large, open field, each standing seven feet tall, each gracefully waving in memory of a person who died on 9/11.

Lance and Michelle Shinnick brought their daughter Lindsey to walk among the rows…

“We just thought that we would come out in just remembrance of the people who lost their lives that day,” said Lance Shinnick.  “To tell our daughter about that tragic day and what these flags symbolize.”

“It’s hard for a five-year-old to get their head around it and I think just coming here and seeing that each of these flags was a person that just disappeared that day,” said Michelle Shinnick. “I think the visual just kind of helps her.   And it’s a little more overwhelming for me than I thought it would be.  Just imagining; looking around in every direction, these were all people who woke up that morning and didn’t come home.  It’s very sad.”

But not for another visitor at another display of flags, this one in downtown Columbus. Erica Hayes stood among some 3,000 small American flags dotting the lawn of the statehouse.  She said the terror attacks only emboldened Americans.

“I feel like our country came together in honor of these people, because of this we are stronger and we are more aware of what’s going on around us and in the same sense it gives us more of an appreciation for life and love for life and for each other,” said Hayes.

Shirley Cowgill, though, is not quite sure what to make of that September morning 10 years ago.

“9/11 is hard to put in words,” Cowgill said.  “So many people that we lost, so needlessly. Why we can’t all live together I don’t know.  I guess it’s never going to be a peaceful world.  We can hope for it, though.  Don’t you think?”

Comments