The names of three Utahns killed along with thousands of others in the Sept. 11 attacks are now part of the centerpiece at a new 9/11 memorial unveiled this morning in Kaysville.
“These three people from Utah were among the first casualties in the war on terror,” said event narrator Spence Kinard. “A grandmother, a mother and a husband - it was such a cruel, senseless and cowardly act – an attack on innocent people. Nearly 3,000 men, women and children were killed that day as America went to war again.”
Family members of victims, military veterans and Utah’s first responders were on hand to mark the 12th anniversary of the event at the Utah State University Botanical Center where six plaques and a large bronze statue of a firefighter carrying a child are now on permanent display. The monument also features the names of 129 U.S. servicemen and women from Utah who have died since the attacks in the ongoing war on terrorism.
Mary Alice Wahlstrom and her daughter, Carolyn Beug, were aboard American Airlines flight 11 when it slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The women were on their way home after helping Beug’s twin daughters settle into their new life at an east coast college.
USU graduate Brady Howell was killed at the Pentagon where he worked as an intern assigned to intelligence gathering for the U.S. Navy. He was 26. His widow, Liz Howell, helped unveil one of the six plaques.
Utah Lt. Gov. Greg Bell, choked with emotion, said the 9/11 attacks changed the United States and world forever but gave Americans stronger resolve.
“What really matter in this life are people,” said Bell. “When you think about columns of firefighters climbing in heavy gear to the 30th and 40th and 45th level of those buildings, it’s hard to imagine.”
Jim and Kay Openshaw came to honor their son, Gary Openshaw, who, just two months after 9/11 became Utah’s first military casualty. He credited Margaret Wahlstrom, the daughther-in-law of Mary Alice Wahlstrom, who has spent years organizing the funding and construction of the memorial.
“It’s a great honor to represent the people of Utah and our son,” said Openshaw. “And hopefully help out Margaret Wahlstrom who put in so much through the years to make this complete.”
Following a rifle salute and Taps, 96-year-old World War II veteran Darrell Burrell sang the “Star Spangled Banner.”