Two Craven County memorial ceremonies honored the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.

Two Craven County memorial ceremonies honored the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
A morning ceremony in Havelock and an evening event in Fairfield Harbour also reinforced the resolve of the American people.
A large American flag served as the backdrop to the 9/11 Memorial in Havelock, next to the Harrier Monument that stands in front of the Havelock Police Department building.
More than 100 people attended the ceremony, which included a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m., when the first jet hit one of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York. Later, at 9:03 a.m., taps was played by Havelock High senior Anthony Bird, the time a second jet hit the other Twin Tower.
There were also remarks from the Rev. Jim Kohr, Police Chief David Magnusson, Assistant Fire Chief Steve Coffey and Commissioner Pete Van Fleet.
Everyone remembers where they were on that Monday morning in 2001 when part of the attacks were broadcast on live television.
Retired Marine David Bullock already had some serious issues going on that day, having traveled with his family from Knoxville, Tennessee, to Tylertown, Mississippi, to bury his father.
Bullock, who spent 21 years in active duty and 15 more in civil service at Cherry Point, recalled turning on the television as he prepared for the funeral.
“There it was,” he said. “We were in a hotel and I told my son. But, we had to go ahead to the burial. But, that is definitely a day I won’t ever forget.”
Police Chief Magnusson, who has headed the department here for two years, is from New York City, but grew up in Florida and at the time of 9/11, he was a policeman in Miami. He recalled getting ready for work the morning of the attacks. He was part of a tactical unit that helped secure federal buildings in the city.
“Nobody really knew exactly what was going on or what was coming next,” said Magnusson, who retired as a major in the Miami police department after 30 years.
He was impressed to arrive and find that Havelock had a memorial and a ceremony each year.
“It is very solemn and very heart-felt here,” he said of the Havelock event.
He said the events of that day helped to unify the American people.
“There was no difference in the country, as far as separation,” he said. “It was all one America, which is what this country is all about when these things happen. We realize how fortunate we are as a people and there is no delineation except for one thing — we are all Americans.”
Fire Chief Rick Zaccardelli and Assistant Chief Coffey brought the girders back to Havelock in 2011, following two years of planning.
“It was an impossible task in the beginning,” Commissioner Danny Walsh recalled of plans to attain a piece of a Twin Tower. “The local firemen went to get it with some assistance from local businesses. The local business people put the money in to mount it and the city built the display around it.”
Along with the Twin Towers girder, the memorial also has stones from the other two attack areas from Sept. 11, at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the crash of Flight 93 in the Pennsylvania countryside. Tony Michalek, a retired lieutenant with the New York City Police Department who now lives in Harlowe, traveled north to retrieve the stones, armed with letters of authority from the city of Havelock, the Pentagon the local committee in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Michalek said he lost 14 police friends in the attacks, adding that people everywhere should always never forget that there were three separate attacks.
“I can just imagine the passenger on Flight 93 fighting their way into that cockpit, like Americans would do, knowing they were going to die anyway,” he said.
The downing of that flight by passengers is credited with avoiding an attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Later on Sunday, about 300 people gathered for the annual 9/11 Fairfield Harbour ceremony, which also featured a monument and a girder from the Twin Towers.
The Fairfield Harbour ceremony included a color guard from Cherry Point air station, remarks by Craven County Commissioner Tom Marks, state Sen. Norman Sanders, R-Pamlico, state Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, Brian Giersch and Linda Murdock.
One solemn part of the ceremony each year is the placement of a wreath at the 9/11 memorial, along with special music by trumpet player Bob Dumon, the Fairfield Harbour Chorus and the Southern Gentlemen Barbershop Chorus.
Fairfield Harbour is largely populated by retirees from northeastern states who sought and then erected the 9/11 girders for its monument in 2011 on the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
Sanderson noted that “no community in my district was as affected as Fairfield Harbour and what you have done here bears that out.” He noted that memorial services runs the gamut of emotions from joyful remembrance to sadness and remorse.
“I think we have a little of all that,” he said.
He urged the audience to remember not only those who died on Sept. 11, but the thousands who came away from it with illness, many of whom later died.
Dan Engelhaupt, the Fairfield Harbour Property Owners Association director, recalled that he worked 6 miles from the Pentagon and had seven friends who worked in the military headquarters.
“At 9:37 a.m. on what was a beautiful fall day, American Airlines Flight 77 slammed into the Pentagon at over 500 miles per hour,” he said. “I knew not the fate of my seven friends until they were finally able to call six hours later. There are millions of stories from that day. We invite you to reflect and never forget.”

Charlie Hall can be reached at 252-635-5667 or 252-259-7585, charlie.hall@newbernsj.com, on Twitter @CharlieHallNBSJ