Friday, Sept. 10, 2010 | 11:57 a.m.
Nine years later, the wound still hurts.
As a new American flag was raised Tuesday morning above Summerlin’s Palo Verde High School, students and friends remembered one of their own: Barbara Edwards, a French teacher who was a passenger on Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11.
“She was my best friend,” said Gail Fahy, the chairwoman of the school’s foreign language department. “She was loved by everyone, always having fun and laughing. I miss her so much.”
Edwards – who was born in Germany in 1943 and came to the United States when she was 10 – was returning from visiting family in Virginia when she died.
“She was on her way back to celebrate my birthday on 9/11,” said Fahy, who was wearing a pin with a picture of Edwards. “Now, I usually don’t celebrate my birthday. It’s Barbara’s day.”
Palo Verde’s Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps officiated the flag rededication ceremony, held in front of a memorial built for Edwards at the corner of the school’s soccer field. The AFROTC members played taps, held a moment of silence and stood at attention, after which they presented the American flag to Fahy.
“It’s definitely emotional,” said Palo Verde’s AFROTC Wing Commander Andrea Huff, a 17-year-old senior. “It’s an honor to be a part of this ceremony.”
Edwards, who once dressed up as a McDonald’s French fry for her students, started the high school’s international club, which unified the different language students.
“She was a special lady,” said Kevin Hagood, a calculus teacher who also received a flag. “The kids had a great time in her class.”
Hagood – Palo Verde’s soccer coach when he’s out of the classroom – spearheaded the initiative to create a memorial for Edwards in 2002.
Remembering the times Edwards cheered on his soccer team, Hagood said he decided to build the memorial on the soccer field, which overlooks the Las Vegas Valley. Renovated last year, the concrete and stone structure features the handprints of friends and recipients from a scholarship created in her honor.
“It’s surreal every year,” Hagood said of the ceremony. “This is a constant reminder that as we get farther and father away from the event, it’s important as Palo Verde, as a community, to remember what happened that day.”