Shenandoah 9/11 services 2017

The Shenandoah Fire Department's giant American flag flies at the end of the ladder truck during the city's annual 9/11 memorial ceremony in 2017.

(Shenandoah) -- Shenandoah residents will observe a solemn tradition Wednesday.

Ceremonies marking the 18th anniversary of the attacks of September 11th, 2001 take place at noon at the Bogart Park Veteran's Memorial across from Shenandoah's United Methodist Church. Numerous organizations will participate in the ceremonies honoring those who perished in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and the crash of a hijacked plane in Pennsylvania. Guest speakers include Ernie Robinson, first vice commander of Shenandoah's VFW Post #7224, and Janet Olsen, commander of Shenandoah's American Legion Post #88. Olsen also serves as Page County's veterans affairs executive director. Speaking recently on KMA's "Morning Line" program, Olsen praised the five-member county veterans commission for their work with area veterans.

"I don't think that the public understands that the Page County commissioners are the unsung heroes," said Olsen. "They help me do my job. They get me my information, they keep me on track. But, these are the good guys--the volunteers out in the community who reach out and talk to the veterans."

Back in June, the county's board of supervisors approved a two-member expansion of the board, with Douglas Vance and Ray Harris joining three previous commissioners: Gary Alger, Ron Gibson and Wendy O'Halloran. Olsen says adding new members was necessary, because of an increasing number of veterans in the county.

"Our count is higher," said Olsen. "We've almost doubled the number of veterans we've reached in Page County in the last year. We're active, and we aren't done. So, we're reaching out.

"These are the fingers--the five fingers, if you will--that reach out for my office to reach the veterans, help them and talk to them. If you see one of these guys, stop them and say thanks," she added.

Olsen says both Vance and Harris brought a lot to the commission's table.

"If you know Ray Harris, you know that he has a lot of experience, and is dedicated," she said. "There isn't a lot that Ray can't digest, give you information back and argue about. He's a very intelligent man. I think his feet are on the ground, and he's a solid veteran. And then, you've got Doug Vance. How would I describe him? He is one organized cookie. When things need to get done, and you need a direction to go, stop in and talk to Douglas."

A coffee takes place at the county's veterans affairs office at 1516 Northwest Road in Shenandoah following Wednesday's service.