Twenty years later, Jackson County residents gather for 9/11 memorial service

Katelyn Waltemyer
Jackson Newspapers
Lowell (left) and Selma Humphreys, of Fairplain, rise for the national anthem.

RIPLEY — Lowell's voice shook, and a single tear rolled down Selma's cheek as they recalled where they were on 9/11. 

Lowell and Selma Humphreys were on vacation in Cape Hatteras. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, they were on a ferry ride when someone turned on the radio. A plane had struck the World Trade Center. The next day, they said, the beach was covered in American flags for miles. 

Twenty years later, tree leaves rustled on the courthouse lawn as a slow, steady breeze passed through the somber 9/11 memorial service. Ripley Baptist  has hosted a memorial service every year since the attack. 

Attendees were met with prayers for the U.S., members of the military, first responders and law enforcement. 

Ripley Mayor Carolyn Rader dawned in red, white and blue, gave a speech at the ceremony where she said she missed the America of Sept. 12. 

"The best way that we can ever honor those lost in 9/11 is to live each day like it was Sept. 12, 2001," Rader said. "In the end, the only thing that mattered was each other." 

The ceremony ended with a 21-gun salute from Ripley's American Legion. 

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— Katelyn Waltemyer (she/her) is the General Assignment and Enterprise Reporter for Jackson Newspapers in Jackson County, West Virginia. Have a news tip on local government or education? Or a good feature? You can reach Katelyn at Follow her on Twitter @Kate_Waltemyer.