Area marks 9/11 anniversary
It was 10:02 a.m. Wednesday.
Until that time, 82-year-old George E. Knott of Graystone Court, an apartment building in Logan Township, was talking about his past as a soldier, as an employee of Agway for 34 years and as a member of the American Legion.
But at 10:02 a.m., the discussion stopped, and Knott assumed a serious posture.
Dressed in his American Legion uniform, he carefully donned his dress hat and precisely pulled on a pair of white gloves.
He picked up his trumpet and went onto his balcony in the 90-plus degree heat and waited until his timepiece turned 10:03 a.m.
The trumpet slowly rose to his lips, and he played taps – in memory of those who died at that precise time, when United Flight 93 plowed into a field just a mile from Shanksville on Sept. 11, 2001.
His play was flawless, although he said later he’d done it better.
As taps came to a conclusion, a group of his neighbors standing in a gazebo five floors below applauded.
Later Darthea D. Bardine, one of those neighbors, would say of Knott’s tribute to the thousands who died on Sept. 11, “It was wonderful.”
She said Knott “is very sincere and dedicated” in his tribute.
Another lady among the group said, “We are proud of him.”
Watching Knott play taps from inside the apartment was his wife, Patty, who expressed her pride at her husband’s show of patriotism.
Knott displayed an acute sense of humor. His wife, he said, was only 81. “I married a younger woman,” he smiled.
A member of Buglers Across America, Knott has played taps at more than 90 funerals for veterans and at many, many special occasions.
A veteran of the Army from 1952-54, Knott said that is one reason he plays for the veterans. Another is his longtime service to American Legion Post 520 in Alexandria.
There are more than 7,000 buglers like him across America.
Knott played taps four times on Wednesday, the 12th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America.
His first tribute came at 8:46 a.m. in memory of those who died when American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The second was at 9:03 a.m., the time when United Airlines Flight 175 hit the South Tower, the point when Americans realized it was not accident and that they were, as a nation, once again at war.
Knott’s third trip to the balcony came at at 9:37 a.m. when American Airlines Flight 77 hit the Pentagon.
He had a nephew who worked at the Pentagon, but he was fortunately not at work that day because the plane slammed into the section of the building where his office was located.
By 10:03 a.m., passengers and crew of Flight 93 had begun to fight back and ended their own lives by bringing down the hijacked jet at Shanksville, thus saving the nation’s capital from another blow.
Knott has a deep feeling for what he does. He admitted to being “apprehensive” as he put on his white gloves.
At the end of taps, his trumpet dropped to his left side, and he slowly and precisely saluted with his right hand. That gesture, seen by only a few, drifted across busy Pleasant Valley Boulevard, over Brush Mountain and into infinity.
Mirror Staff Writer Phil Ray is at 946-7468.