In the 18 years since Sept. 11, 2001, Roger and Carol Whitford have done whatever they could to support and honor the people who lost their lives that day.
One of those people was their son Mark, a member of Fire Department of New York's Engine 23. Mark and his crew arrived after the second plane hit, and they entered the south tower to fight the fire. They reached the 21st floor before the tower collapsed. Mark was one of 343 firefighters to lose their lives that fateful day.
This year’s ceremony is scheduled for 5 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 11, at their home, 17181 Minos Conaway Road, Lewes. The first responder community is invited. Members of Lewes Fire Department and FDNY are expected to be in attendance.
Since moving to Lewes seven years ago, Roger and Carol have held a 9/11 ceremony annually to honor those who died. In 2015, Roger and Carol, along with family and friends, launched patriotic lanterns into the sky from Lewes Beach. In 2016, they held a ceremony at a homemade memorial in the front yard of their Minos Conaway Rd. home. The tradition has continued every year since.
For 2019, the Whitfords have taken it a step farther. The front yard memorial now includes a display with water cascading from the top of twin tower rocks onto smaller rocks below. A plaque in front says the display is dedicated to the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice on that fateful day. A photo of Mark Whitford is attached to a flagpole just a few feet away.
Roger and Carol also had a brick-paver walkway built, to lead people from the driveway to the display. Benches are built along the way. Near the driveway, the Whitfords have displayed a piece of World Trade Center steel. A wooden podium at the driveway will soon display a photograph of Mark and his story.
The memorial is registered and displayed at www.911memorial.org.