Metro man killed in 9/11 Pentagon attack honored at memorial

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. -  It's the day before the anniversary of those fateful moments on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

For first time, a Shawnee couple will be able to see his name on a new addition to the memorial at the Overland Park Fire Training Center.

Shirley Hemenway's son, Ronald John Hemenway, perished that day.

"I'm anxious to see it tomorrow, I'm sure it's nice," she said.

Ronald was in the Navy and working at the Pentagon when hijacked American Airlines flight 77 hit the building.

"The night before he died, we spent an hour and a half on the phone talking about equipment and so forth and I said, 'Ron you better go to bed, you'll never get up in the morning,'" his father, Bob, remembered.

His parents said Ronald's body was never recovered.

But on the anniversary of his death this year, his parents will see his name for the first time on the victim's panel.  It's a new addition to the 9/11 memorial at the Overland Park Fire Training Center.

Jason Rhodes, the media spokesperson for the fire department, has been preparing for a service Wednesday.

"For folks, especially who have loved ones or relatives or family or friends, to be able to come up and actually put their fingers on that name, I think is going to have a lot of impact," Rhodes said.

The fire department and Honor Guard plan a service starting around 7:20 a.m.  They will dedicate the panel and new benches.  Then, at the exact times the events of the day unfolded, a bell will sound.

The memorial already has a steel beam from one twin tower and educational panels describing the events of that day.  Rhodes said the entire memorial was built through private donations.

"It tells us that people have not only a memory of that day, but a support for keeping that memory alive," Rhodes said.

A memory and anniversary hard to ever be ready for, for the Hemenways.

"I want people to remember. I don't want them to forget. So I do like these memorials, but you can't ever prepare yourself," Shirley Hemenway said.

Rhodes said the fire department wants to construct what is called a "Weeping Wall," where water will flow over a metal panel to represent all the tears shed on 9/11.  But he said they need about $40,000 to construct it.  Rhodes said you can help by donating at the memorial site off of Hemlock St. or go to artsandrec-op.org to learn more.

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