Memorial Honors Virginia Victims of Sept. 11 Attacks

By Sgt. Sara Wood, USA
American Forces Press Service

WOODBRIDGE, Virginia, May 10, 2006 - The people of Prince William County gathered here yesterday to dedicate a memorial that honors the 22 county residents who died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

It took four years and many donors to fund and build the Liberty Memorial, which sits near the McCoart Administration Building here as a stark reminder of the tragedy of that day. The county is about 20 miles south of the Pentagon and is home to many servicemembers and civilians who work in defense facilities in the area.

"9/11 was a day that changed everything," Sean T. Connaughton, chairman of the county's board of supervisors, said at the dedication ceremony. "We started the day at peace & and within the span of one hour that morning, every American's life was touched in some way."

The Liberty Memorial consists of a reflecting pool in the shape of the Pentagon with two fountains in the middle to represent the World Trade Center towers in New York City. An adjacent plaza is encircled by Pennsylvania flagstone as a tribute to the people lost on United Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pa., and the names of the Prince William County victims are inscribed on the west wall of the fountain's pool. A block of stone from the Pentagon fire is incorporated into the design.

The memorial incorporates symbols to represent all the people killed on Sept. 11, so all the victims will be remembered, Connaughton said.

"We do this because we are a community; we do this because we recognize that the honored memory of these fine people is a source of strength," he said.

The memorial was planned by the Prince William County Liberty Memorial Committee, which includes family members of people killed on Sept. 11. One family member, Laurie Laychak, said the memorial accomplishes its goals of honoring those who died, comforting the families that live on, and teaching future generations about the values of those who inspired and built it.

Laychak, who lost her husband, David, an Army budget analyst, at the Pentagon, said the memorial is a fitting tribute to those who died, specifically her husband, who believed in freedom and patriotism.

"Though lost to us in this mortal life, some part of them will live on as long as this memorial endures," she said. "When I see David's name inscribed in the granite, I remember the patriot who was my husband - hand over heart, eyes welling with tears whenever he heard the national anthem."

Laychak said that if her husband were alive today, he would say the American people cannot let small differences divide them, and that regardless of the price, the fight for freedom must continue.

The Liberty Memorial is a beautiful tribute to the lives of those killed on Sept. 11, but it also serves as a reminder to their families that the community and the nation are always behind them, Virginia Sen. George Allen said.

"This community will never abandon you, nor will this grand, compassionate nation," Allen said, addressing the family members at the ceremony. "We should never forget, and we will never forget what happened to you and your loved ones."

The names inscribed on the memorial are:

- Retired Sgt. 1st Class John J. Chada, USA;
- SK3 Jamie L. Fallon, USN;
- Amelia V. Fields;
- Retired Lt. Col. Robert J. Hymel, USAF;
- Sgt. Maj. Lacey B. Ivory, USA;
- Judith L. Jones;
- David W. Laychak;
- James T. Lynch Jr.;
- Gene E. Maloy;
- Robert J. Maxwell;
- Molly L. McKenzie;
- Craig J. Miller;
- Diana B. Padro;
- Rhonda S. Rasmussen;
- Edward V. Rowenhorst;
- Judy Rowlett;
- Donald D. Simmons;
- Jeff L. Simpson;
- Cheryle D. Sincock;
- ITC Gregg H. Smallwood, USN;
- Sgt. Maj. Larry L. Strickland, USA; and
- Sandra L. White.

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