Bagpipes played a solemn “Amazing Grace” Tuesday afternoon at the Roseburg National Cemetery in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
More than 50 people gathered for the fourth annual memorial hosted by CrossFit Roseburg and Cowboy CrossFit Kids. The service included a speech by Veterans Affairs Chaplain Michael Gillespie, a flag-folding ceremony and taps. Veterans, military personnel, firefighters and police officers were present.
Native American drummers and a line of servicemen welcomed those who came.
“It’s hard to believe that was 11 years ago now. We lost our innocence and our belief that we were invulnerable,” Gillespie said.
Gillespie read President Barack Obama’s presidential proclamation that declared September 11, 2012, as Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
Service members folded a flag draped over a stand-in coffin and handed it to Troy Willis, co-owner of CrossFit. Approximately 25 people then left on a run of 9.11 miles through the Roseburg VA Medical Center campus, taking turns carrying a 40-pound metal cross to commemorate the victims.
The burden of running with a heavy, awkward object symbolized that those who died that day are not forgotten, Willis said.
“This is about coming together as a community and supporting each other. I think we’ve lost that in a lot of ways,” he said.
Reggi Johnson of Roseburg, 49, said she ran to show her appreciation.
“There is absolutely no reason I shouldn’t be here for this. And I am unbelievably grateful for everyone who has sacrificed,” she said.
• You can reach reporter Betsy Swanback at 541-957-4208 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org