#September11: Remembering Ron Hemenway, Lost at the Pentagon

#September11: Remembering Ron Hemenway, Lost at the Pentagon

#September11: Remembering Ron Hemenway, Lost at the Pentagon

On September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight #77 slammed into the Pentagon in a horrific terror attack, taking with it 184 lives, including men, women, and children.

One of those lost was ET1 Ronald Hemenway, a Navy electronics technician. Ron was 37 years old, a husband and father to two small children, ages 1 and 3. Ron’s body was one of five Pentagon victims that was never recovered.

Ron
ET1 Ron Hemenway, US Navy

Ron was born in Alaska, and grew up in Wasilla. He graduated from Wasilla High School the same year as Sarah Heath, who later went on to marry another classmate, Todd Palin. Ron didn’t live to see his former classmate become governor of Alaska, and later a vice presidential candidate.

I never knew Ron Hemenway, but my husband and I know members of his family well, as many now live in the Kansas City area. His sister Sheri is a member of our Lutheran church. We also know Ron’s brother Robert and his parents, Shirley and Bob Hemenway. The children of Robert and Sheri attended our church’s parochial school with one of our children.

We attended a memorial service our church held for Ron after it was established that he was never returning, and that his remains could not be found. The image which has remained with me over these last 14 years is that of a flag-draped conference table being placed in the front of the church sanctuary in lieu of a coffin or even a receptacle for ashes. It was yet another grim reminder of the loss and devastation of that awful day.

Ron Hemenway has not been forgotten by his family or the people of Kansas City. He is also remembered by a very famous Alaskan, the woman with whom he graduated from Wasilla High School — Sarah Palin.

In 2013 Sarah Palin visited the Kansas City suburbs as part of a book tour, where she met up with Ron’s parents, Bob and Shirley Hemenway.

Palin

She wrote these words on her Facebook page:

New and old friends gathered in Kansas tonight – including Robert and Shirley Hemenway whose son Ron worked for the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon when he was killed on September 11, 2001. Ron graduated from Wasilla High School with Todd and me, and he was a wonderful young man from a proud and selfless Alaskan family. Ron will never be forgotten. It’s remembering 9/11 that makes us appreciate sacrifices made for our freedoms, and should stiffen our spines to defend them.

Never forget.

Written by

Kim is a pint-sized patriot who packs some big contradictions. She is a Baby Boomer who never became a hippie, an active Republican who first registered as a Democrat (okay, it was to help a sorority sister's father in his run for sheriff), and a devout Lutheran who practices yoga. Growing up in small-town Indiana, now living in the Kansas City metro, Kim is a conservative Midwestern gal whose heart is also in the Seattle area, where her eldest daughter, son-in-law, and grandson live. Kim is a working speech pathologist who left school system employment behind to subcontract to an agency, and has never looked back. She describes her conservatism as falling in the mold of Russell Kirk's Ten Conservative Principles. Don't know what they are? Google them!

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