August 26, 2006 - Joey Ricketts spent more than two years creating and raising money for a monument to honor those who died in the Sept. 11 attack on the Pentagon. Now his Eagle Scout project is finally done.
“ It feels really good,” said Joey, 15. “ I’m relieved.”
The 5- foot- tall granite monument was installed in front of the American Legion Post 16 on Thursday morning. The monument includes a piece of limestone from the part of the Pentagon that was destroyed in the attack.
Joey and his father, Bobby Ricketts, received the piece this summer when they attended a private groundbreaking ceremony for the national Pentagon Memorial.
Joey met a four- star general, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, U. S. Sens. George Allen and John W. Warner of Virginia and family members of some of the victims.
Some of the family members gave him donations, Joey said.
The granite pedestal includes bronze plaques dedicating the monument to those who died at the Pentagon and aboard American Airlines Flight 77 that day, including Col. David Scales. Scales’ father, John Scales, is a longtime member of Post 16.
Tiles with pictures of David Scales and the crash site are placed above the plaques. Joey said he is having another plaque made that lists the names of the victims, which will go on the back panel.
The pedestal also holds an interior piece of the Pentagon that a former employee donated to Joey.
Joey and his father plan to unveil the monument at a dedication ceremony today. Bobby Ricketts said John Scales and representatives from the Pentagon, the Salvation Army and the Boy Scouts of America’s Piedmont District are expected to give speeches at the event.
The American Legion Honor Guard also will participate, the elder Ricketts said.
The ceremony will include music from the Lynchburg Symphony Orchestra’s brass quintet and the remaining members of a musical trio with whom David Scales played. He was an accomplished pianist, Bobby Ricketts said.
“ I’m starting to learn that David was an inspiration to a lot of people,” he said.
Ricketts said he expects about 500 people will attend the dedication.
Joey, who is a member of Troop 48, has said he chose to create the monument for his Eagle Scout project because he believed that the victims of the Pentagon attack had not been recognized as much as those killed at the World Trade Center.
“ I thought it was going to be a lot easier than this,” Joey said.
He spent the better part of the past two years writing letters asking for donations and designing the monument.
“ Being a teenager, you don’t want to be in the house writing letters; it was the last thing I wanted to do,” he said.
When he began, he estimated the project would cost $ 6,000. But as more donations came in, it grew larger. The finished project cost about $ 11,000.
He said he has received much support from the American Legion and the community.
Still, he said he is looking forward to being able to resume normal teen activities.
“ I hope to go to the mall, just to get out of the house,” he said.
Jennifer L. Berghom is a staff writer at the News & Advance in Lynchburg