BY PAT FARNELLI, Correspondent
A bald eagle soared from the tree line and flew in a slow,
majestic turn over the crowds and monuments at the Daniel Crisman Memorial Park on the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
The eagle appeared as Hayden Brunges sang: “It ain’t fair you died too young… sometimes I wonder who you’d be today..” which resonated with the memorial service for Danny Crisman, who died 15 years ago in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
Someone touched Debbie Crisman’s shoulder and pointed upward, and then she beamed and pointed to the sky as well, as lighted candles burned close to sunset.
“Thank you for giving us a beautiful day to remember a terrible day, and to remember those who were lost 15 years ago,” prayed Pastor Bob
Kadlecik of the Bridgewater Church.
The keynote speaker, Jon Meyer of WNEP, Channel 16, was asked to recall what he saw the day he found himself – the first reporter and among the very first witnesses to arrive at the flight 93 crash site.
“At first, when the news broke in, it didn’t seem that there would be much to do locally, in the Johnstown area,” he said. “That changed when I walked into the newsroom. We heard there was a plane missing, headed toward Johnstown, and then we got phone calls that a big plane was seen just over a house, and then a plane crash near Shanksville.”
The news team wondered if planes might be falling from the sky all day. “We were afraid driving out to that scene. Our photographer, who had served in Viet Nam, turned to me and said, ‘Are you ready for this?’ We were expecting to be first responders. We might be getting there before the real first responders. We thought there might be a broken fuselage, maybe some victims in need of help.”
Meyer said that what they found astonished them. “There was just what appeared to be a huge crater.”
Meyer said the situation seemed unreal as a 24-year-old reporter, one year in the news business, “just a kid.”
Meyer said that memorials for those who’d died on the plane began to form the next day. Families of victims came, and the reporters stood at attention while they looked over the site of the crash. “We
reporters were told to look at what they left behind. They wanted us to see these things,” he said.
“That story started right away, the temporary memorial. We spent three weeks there, while the FBI completed their investigation. I saw Shanksville respond. They took it upon themselves to see that Sept. 11 is remembered.”
Meyer marveled that it has been 15 years since that vivid morning. “Everything for me
changed on September 11.”