Johnson County remembers victims of 9/11 terrorist attacks with display in Olathe

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OLATHE, Kan. — The south lawn of the Johnson County administration building has been turned into a 9/11 memorial with nearly 3,000 American flags planted by Olathe West High School students.

The 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks is being remembered in Johnson County with a display of 2,977 American flags.

Bob and Shirley Hemenway of Shawnee, Kansas placed the last flag in the ground Thursday morning in memory of their son, Ronald.

Ronald Hemenway was in the Navy when he was killed during the attack on the Pentagon. He was only 37 at the time and left behind a wife and two young children.

“He was a chief of naval operations officer when the plane hit,” Bob Hemenway said. “They never found him. But I think for a long time, what I remember was my youngest son on the phone trying to find out what hospital he might be in. Nobody knew where he was. We went over there and spent time at the hotel. All the casualty officers were there. We never got any remains.”

A general told Hemenway they would never find his son. The military never even recovered his dog tags. According to Bob Hemenway, the general said a fire burned at 3,000 degrees in the rubble of the Pentagon.

Johnson County commissioners on Thursday also issued a proclamation commemorating Patriots Day on September 11.

The outdoor display will remain in place for the public to visit through Monday.

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