Flight 93 crash site dirt added to Vienna 9/11 memorial

Tribune Chronicle / Lexy Cummins Vienna fire Chief Richard Brannon speaks Monday evening at the fire department’s 9/11 memorial ceremony. The small eagle to the right is an urn that holds dirt from the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. It’s now part of the department’s memorial.

VIENNA — To many, sacred ground — dirt from the crash site of Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pa. — is now part of a memorial here that honors those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Contained in an urn in the shape of an eagle, the dirt, and a bell from a 1950s fire truck, were added to the memorial at the Vienna Fire Department during its annual 9/11 remembrance ceremony Monday, the 16th anniversary of the attack.

“It’s an eagle,” said fire Chief Richard Brannon. “As you all know, the eagle is the patriotic sign for America. The people, the passengers, and the crew members of Flight 93 were the most patriotic people out there. They crashed that plane without knowing where it was heading. They died in the process of saving other lives. I could not think of a better way to demonstrate or to give them peace than this eagle.”

The urn was donated by Briceland Funeral Home in Brookfield, and the dirt, by Austintown, which also has a 9/11 memorial on Raccoon Road. A ceremony was held there, too, on Monday.

The memorial in Vienna, which already contains beams from the World Trade Center, is one of the largest in the Mahoning Valley. Also added to it was a 1950s fire truck bell.

Mike Hagood, the department’s assistant fire chief, said his dad, the late William Hagood, a former Vienna firefighter, bought the truck 38 years ago. It was used for years in parades until it could not longer be maintained, so it was scrapped, but the younger Hagood said he kept the bell.

He said he decided to donate the bell because the fire department had to borrow a bell for it’s 9/11 ceremony.

Gary Clower, 64, of Vienna, donated about 60 hours of work to build the wooden base for the bell.

“My dad agreed to build the box, but passed away before he could,” said Clower, who added he built the box out of love for his father, Warren Clower, and the older Hagood.

“It’s nice to have something in our community for them,” Clower said.

Said Hagood, “that day is etched in all firefighters’ minds. We lost 343 firefighters that day.”