AUGUSTA — A pair of low-key services are planned today in the capital area to honor the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks 11 years ago.

Katey Gagnon-Rood, program support for VA Maine Healthcare System-Togus, said veterans and the public are invited to join a service scheduled for 11:30 a.m. at the chapel in building 235 on the Togus campus.

Meanwhile, at Cony High School, a pair of sophomores plan an ceremonial flag-raising before starting the school day.

“I just want to honor the police and firefighters who gave their lives,” said 16-year-old Zach Fontana-Howe, who is organizing the flag raising with his friend Brandon Gamble, 15.

Gamble and Fontana-Howe, both of whom are cadets in the Augusta Civil Air Patrol based at the Augusta State Airport, said the Cony flag-raising at about 7 a.m. will be a private affair with between them and teachers.

The boys plan to wear their dress-blue uniforms and have a teacher hand them a U.S. flag, which they will raise to half mast.

Fontana-Howe and Gamble have limited memories of the day of the attack, but both say their families lost friends that day.

“We thought of remembering them by raising the flag,” Gamble said.

Gagnon-Rood said the Togus ceremony is an opportunity to unite and remember the thousands of innocent men, women and children who died in the terrorists attacks. Col. Andrew Gibson, chaplain for the Maine Army National Guard, will give an address; and a cappella chorus Maine-ly Harmony has prepared a few stirring numbers.

Togus police and firefighters are expected to attend the ceremony, which should last about 45 minutes, Gagnon-Rood said.

The VA has a history of honoring heroes, Gagnon-Rood said. The 3,000 people who died on Sept. 11, 2001, fit that description, even though most were not in the military.

“They’re heroes anyway,” she said. “They lost their lives. It’s an important part of what has happened to our nation.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]


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