ALLIANCE – The Carnation City will pay tribute to two Alliance area servicemen who lost their lives as a result of the Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the Pentagon.
Mark Hawkins and William Ruth will be honored with a memorial stone at Silver Park’s 9/11 memorial. The stone will be dedicated during a Gold Star Families event at 2 pm May 28.
The event will also recognize 20 servicemen and women from the Alliance area who died in action. Community leaders and family members of several of the fallen servicemembers will speak during the program.
More:Memorial Day activities planned for Alliance area
Remembering Mark Hawkins
Rev. Peggy Hawkins called her youngest son Mark “the peacemaker.”
She remembered how Hawkins would intervene when his three brothers would fight when they were kids. Hawkins also has a daughter.
“He always had a heart like that,” Peggy Hawkins said.
The Alliance native joined the US Navy in 1982. Two of his brothers also served in the military. Peggy Hawkins said Mark always wanted to do good for others.
“So I have made it his career,” she said.
Hawkins survived the USS Cole bombing in October 2000, but sustained injuries that prevented him returning to the water. He was then stationed in Louisiana.
Hawkins was at the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, filing a report when American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the west side of the Pentagon, killing 125 inside the building and 64 on the aircraft.
He was hospitalized after the plane crashed and died five days later at age 38.
Peggy Hawkins has “mixed feelings” about the memorial. On one hand, she said she is glad to see Hawkins will be honored for his service. But, she said more should be done for living veterans across the country.
As a church pastor for many years, she had parishioners who were veterans and saw first-hand the difficulties many of them experienced after their service.
“We don’t know what all they saw. We don’t know what affected them,” she said.
Remembering William Ruth
William Ruth was a Marine, National Guardsman and long-time educator.
The Alliance High School graduate served in the Marines during the Vietnam War as a helicopter pilot.
Later, Ruth attended Bowling Green State University and became a social studies teacher, and worked in education for almost 30 years. He returned to the service when the Persian Gulf War broke out and was sent to the Middle East.
Ruth’s friends and colleagues described him as a caring mentor and devoted friend, according to the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial page.
He retired from teaching in 1997, and accepted an Army position working at the Pentagon.
Ruth’s 9/11 Pentagon Memorial page said that he oversaw his first meeting as commander of his local Veterans of Foreign Wars post on Sept. 10, 2001.
He died Sept. 11, 2001, at age 57.
His brother, David, did not return requests for comment.
Memorial service set May 28 in Alliance
The Gold Star Families event is a project of the Hometown Heroes Banner Committee. Alliance-area veterans are featured on banners that hang along Union Avenue and State Street in the city.
The May 28 ceremony will honor 20 other Alliance-area servicemen and women who died in military action since World War I.
Speakers during the event will include Jean Wilson, Ohio American Legion Commander; Randy Hunt, brother of Ralph Hunt Jr.; Debbie White, mother of Ashley White; and Mark and Irma McVicker, representing Daniel McVicker; Zufall and Andreani. Hunt died in Vietnam. White died in 2011 in Afghanistan. McVicker died in 2005 in Iraq.
The color guard from American Legion Post 166 will raise a two-star Gold Star Family flag that will remain at the memorial, while Jimmy Korleski will sing “God Bless the USA,” and Matthew Eversdyke will play taps.
Retired Judge Robert Lavery will offer a prayer for the fallen, while the Rev. G. David Weikart, pastor of the Catholic Community of Alliance, Maximo and Sebring, will bless the 9/11 monument and memorial stone.
Seating will be limited and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs. The ceremony will be followed with refreshments in the Miller Pavilion.
Reach Paige at 330-580-8577 or email@example.com, or on Twitter at @paigembenn.