This year, on the fifteenth anniversary, the fourth commemoration of the 9/11/2001 attacks was held in Marietta; the previous commemorations being celebrated in 2003, 2006 and 2011. The event has been sponsored by The Kiwanis Club of Marietta, in partnership with the National Park Service staff at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park.
The Field of Flags Commemoration honors each of those lives lost on 9/11/2001 with the posting of an American Flag. This is only a part of the story. There are many hours of planning, logistics and hard work that goes into the commemoration of the 2977 lives lost, as well the tens of thousands of friends and relatives who were directly affected, the first responders and other volunteers who gave of their time to mount the search and rescue afterwards. And the aftermath continues to take a toll on the health of those first responders and volunteers.
Following is a summary of the immediate prep and wrap-up of this event, and how Scouts and Scouters of the Atlanta Area Council participated this year.
On September 9th, a local company came out to survey the field and to mark the area for the placement of the 2,977 flags to symbolize the loss of each person who perished on 9/11/2001.
On Saturday morning, September 10th, at around 7:30 AM, a group of volunteers arrived at the field to begin the task of placing the rebar stakes which would support the flags for the next 6 days. Among the group of volunteers placing the rebar were a number of Scouts, Scouters, members of the Marietta High School basketball team and members of the Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club, which was coincidentally founded by two longtime Scouters of the Atlanta Area Council.
Following the placement of the rebar stakes, these volunteers then reassembled at Grace Community Church with some 2000 other volunteers who would forthwith pick up flags and prepare to march in a parade. From there they would go, via Kennesaw Ave and Old Highway 41, to the prepared field at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park to place these flags. Scouts, Scouters and their families provided more than 200 flag bearers for this procession. Scout units participating included Packs, Troops, Crews and Teams, along with Atlanta Area Council Staff. The Flags would remain on display in the field for the next 6 days to honor the memory of those lost that fateful day in 2001.
On September 17, 2016, volunteers again assembled to retire the Field of Flags, including a number of Scouts and Scouters of the Atlanta Area Council, along with members of the Kennesaw Mountain Trail Club. The flags were solemnly lowered – to be stored for future flag placements around the city of Marietta on Veterans Day, Memorial Day and for other patriotic occasions, and to be given to donors who wished to acquire a flag for their own display.
The Kiwanis Club of Marietta and the NPS staff at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park wish to thank all of the volunteers who made a commitment to help stage this commemoration in memory of those lost on 9/11/2001.
We look forward to your support in 2021.
The Marietta Kiwanis Club is already preparing a memorial for 2021 (the twentieth anniversary of the attacks). They are raising funds through the sale of American Flags. For more information on the Field of Flags and how to support the 2021 memorial efforts visit: www.911fieldofflags.com
This story was submitted by Fred Feltmann, Committee Member of Troop 75 in Marietta, GA.