HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – Huntington’s Spring Hill Cemetery now has a permanent memorial to remember the lives impacted by the 9/11 attacks and the tragic Marshall plane crash.
During a ceremony Wednesday night in front of a large crowd at the cemetery marking the 12th anniversary of 9/11, the city unveiled a memorial bell tower that was three years in the making.
Ken and Sharon Ambrose, the parents of Dr. Paul Ambrose who was killed in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon, took part in the unveiling of the memorial. Mr. Ambrose said it was a very moving experience.
“It was a wonderful feeling to see the bell,” said Ambrose. “I saw a cast a couple years ago and to have the tower and the meaning that has for the community and for us is just overwhelming.”
The bell tower is located just a few feet from the grave of Dr. Paul Ambrose, a Marshall University doctor. The bell has a special dedication to Dr. Ambrose etched on it.
Ambrose said the bell tower is fitting for a person who cared so much for the community of Huntington.
“Paul was a person that loved life, he enjoyed everything, he enjoyed Marshall, the community and the friends and this bell tower will hopefully be a reminder of the friendship and the contact that he had with all,” he said.
The bell tower is the product of what started out as the purchasing of flags by the community which were placed in the annual event called the West Virginia Healing Field at the cemetery meant to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. However it soon turned into a fundraiser for a more permanent memorial, the bell tower.
In addition to being dedicated to Dr. Ambrose, the bell also has four images etched into it, the Marshall Memorial within the cemetery, the federal 9/11 commemorative emblem, the Veterans Memorial Arch in Huntington, and the healing field.
Ambrose said the bell is a perfect reminder for the community.
“Symbols bring back the memories of what is important and I think the bell in a sense does that,” he said.
Thanks to the support from the community in the past several years, Huntington now has that permanent symbol in the form of a 600 pound bell made of bronze.