Event to observe 20th anniversary with 2,977 flags

The Best Times Digital Edition

August 19, 2021

A memorial display of 2,977 American flags will be dedicated on Thursday, Sept. 9, by Johnson County Government in observance of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in honor of that many lives lost that day.

The “Johnson County Remembers” flag exhibit will be installed on the south lawn of the county’s Administration Building, 111 South Cherry St., in downtown Olathe. The 2-foot flags represent the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the twin towers at the World Trade Center (WTC), the Pentagon and the crash of a hijacked plane in a Pennsylvania field.

The public event will start at 8:03 a.m. when the United Airlines Flight 175, the second hijacked plane, hit the South Tower of the WTC almost 20 years ago. The tragic chain of events began at 7:46 a.m. when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the WTC and ended at 9:03 a.m. when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed near Shanksville, Pa.

Robert and Shirley Hemenway, Shawnee, and their family have been invited as special guests. Their son, Ronald Hemenway, Navy electronics technician first class petty officer, was killed in the Pentagon when American Airlines Flight 77, struck the building at 8:37 a.m. He was 37.

The program will feature speakers and participation by representatives from local first responders. The attacks killed 403 firefighters and law enforcement officers dying in the line of duty.

Ed Eilert, chairman of the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners, will emcee the program. The board will also issue a proclamation to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the attacks and the annual observance of Patriot Day, a Congressional designated National Day of Service and Remembrance on Saturday, Sept. 11.

The flags will be displayed in downtown Olathe through Monday, Sept. 13.