CHESAPEAKE CITY — Alan Myers donned his Chesapeake City Volunteer Fire Company turnout gear and walked across the C&D Canal Bridge on Sept. 11, 2020 while carrying a black and blue United States flag on a pole — prompting passing motorists to honk, wave and shout words of encouragement.
He carried out his solo walk across the span to commemorate the 19th anniversary of 9/11 and to memorialize the nearly 3,000 people who were killed during those terrorist attacks on this country. It was a solo walk because, at that time, the coronavirus pandemic still loomed large and big public gatherings were unacceptable.
This Sept. 11, which falls on a Saturday, Myers, 61, is going to walk across that bridge in similar fashion and, this time, he is inviting people to join him in observing the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
“It’s just a way to reflect on that day 20 years ago and bring people together,” Myers said.
Anyone interested in participating in the 9/11 memorial walk is asked to arrive at Chesapeake City Volunteer Fire Company’s Station 2 at 215 Lock St. on the north side of town between 8:30 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. on Sept. 11, and the participants will walk from there to the nearby bridge.
“We will have a moment of silence at the bridge before we start. Then we will walk from the north side of the bridge to the south side of the bridge,” Myers said. “The walk will start at 9:03 a.m., which is when the second (hijacked commercial plane) flew into the second (World Trade Center) tower.”
Myers has been commemorating the 9/11 anniversaries for the past few years, explaining that he will never forget how profoundly the events of that tragic day impacted him, simply from the standpoint of an American citizen.
“As an individual, I decided that I wanted to step up,” he said.
On Sept. 11, 2018, for example, Myers logged 2,071 steps on a StairMaster at an area Planet Fitness to mark the 17th anniversary, drawing a small group of supporters. The number of steps he took on that piece of exercise equipment that day matched the number of steps from the bottom to the top of the WTC Twin Towers.
Then on Sept. 11, 2019, Myers used the same type of exercise equipment inside the fitness center at a regional pharmaceutical company where he works and took a specified number of steps to match the stories of those towers. Once again, Myers had a small group of people rooting him on.
On the 19th anniversary of 9/11 last September, he simply took his solitary walk across the Chesapeake City Bridge.
This Sept. 11, Myers is hopeful that it will be a big group walk across that span to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11.
A CCVFC lifetime member who has held numerous leadership positions during the past 43 years, Myers said he and the other event planners are hopeful that participants will donate to the National Fallen Firefighter Fund that day or at some point afterward.
As for his own memory of Sept. 11, 2001, it is a vivid one.
Myers and his wife, Corinne; and their daughter, then 11; and his in-laws, were aboard a commercial plane at BWI Airport near Baltimore. They were destined for Seattle, Wa., where they were scheduled to then embark on an Alaskan cruise, and they were waiting for takeoff.
“We were waiting and waiting. Finally, a voice came over the loudspeaker and said, ‘All flights over the United States have been suspended,’ and we were told that we had to get off the plane and go back to the terminal and leave the airport. No one said why. No one mentioned what happened,” Myers said.
Corinne chimed in, “I thought we were at war.”
When the Myers family reached the terminal, that’s when they saw television sets and saw the repeated footage of the first hijacked plane flying into the tower, triggering a gigantic fireball.