Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Delegate Keam Observes September 11th


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Vienna Remembers 9-11

Fairfax County firefighter speaks at commemoration program.

By Donna Manz, Friday, September 17, 2010

The day after Sept. 11, 2001, a photograph of the Pentagon taken on Sept. 12 made its way across the nation in print, on-air and throughout the reach of the Internet. It wasn't the hole in the building or the pluming smoke that became one of Washington's most iconic images of the terrorist attack, but, rather, it was an inspiring glimpse of military and Fairfax County fire and rescue team members draping a three-story tall American flag across the façade of the Pentagon.

One of those half-dozen firefighters immortalized in that photograph was Dave Kannard, the honored guest speaker at Vienna's annual Sept. 11 commemoration ceremony.

KANNARD, a Fairfax County fire technician, had come home from his shift when he heard the attacks announced on television. He expected his team to be called in that day but they were not. The next morning, he got the message that his shift team was wanted at the Pentagon "now," as Kannard described it. After a briefing in Annandale, Kannard and his colleagues left for the Pentagon. Even from a distance, they could see smoke rising from the building a day after the attack.

"We were on the roof making repairs when we were ordered off suddenly," said Kannard. An errant small plane had violated the airspace around the Pentagon and the military was taking no chances. After having gotten back on the roof, a military representative asked the Fairfax County rescue team to help drape the flag.

As the flag was lowered, a swarm of news photographers captured the moment and it was only at that time that Kannard became aware that the president of the United States was standing below, witnessing a gesture that came to symbolize the resolve and determination of the Washington community.

"When the terrorists hit, they brought us down to our knees, but we got back up," Kannard said to approximately 50 guests. "We'll keep fighting."

THE PROGRAM, coordinated by the American Legion Post 180 of Vienna, in partnership with the Town of Vienna and Historic Vienna, Inc., took place on the grounds of Freeman House at on Saturday, Sept. 11, 10 a.m. At 9:55 a.m., the bells of Vienna Presbyterian Church, adjacent to the program, tolled for five minutes. People along Church Street and on the Town Green paused as the national anthem was sung.

The morning, sunny and warm with a clear blue sky, was much like the morning of Sept. 11, 2001. The annual remembrance program drew Vienna Mayor M. Jane Seeman, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11), Del. Mark Keam (D-35) and members of the Vienna Town Council. The Honor Guard of the Vienna Police Department presented the colors and closed the program retiring them. Joyce Miller of Post 180 played "Taps."

"One image of that day, when the Twin Towers were hit, comes to mind," Connolly said. "That of firefighters and police running up the steps of those buildings while others were running down."

They knew the risks but selflessly did their jobs, he said.

"We saw incredible bravery and desperation on that day," said Connolly. Alluding to the terrorists, he said, "We do know this, that we need to be resolved that they can never do this again."

Seeman offered the proclamation that was first written nine years ago. "It's as appropriate today as it was then," she said. The proclamation is to "memorialize whose lives were suddenly, without cause, and pointlessly taken from them on Sept. 11, 2001, and may they forever rest in peace and abide in our memories."

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Dave Kannard, near retirement with Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, began his career with the department in 1988. He and a Fairfax County rescue team helped lower the American flag over the side of a smoking Pentagon on Sept. 12, 2001.

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The Sept. 11 commemoration program drew Mayor M. Jane Seeman, U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-11), Del. Mark Keam (D-35), members of the Vienna Town Council and a contingent of Fairfax County fire and rescue personnel. Guest speaker Dave Kannard and his wife Brenda are left of the photograph.

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As guest speaker at Vienna's 9-11 program, fire technician Dave Kannard reflected on his assignment on Sept. 12, 2001.

All photos by Donna Manz

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