Spotlight September - Remembering 9/11 Patriotism in Chesapeake

Remembering 9/11

A day of honor and patriotism in Chesapeake.

By Tulip Majumdar

Even though Independence Day was a couple months ago and the merriment of summer is slowly fading, you can still get your fix of patriotism and family fun at the Virginia Freedom Festival, which falls on the weekend of the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Presented to you by the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, the Virginia Freedom Festival will be a combination of national pride and family fun. A full-sized carnival, a Ping Pong Ball Drop for the chance to win $2,500 and performances by beloved artists like the Ill-Eagles are just a few of the amusements to look forward to at the four-day event.

The festival’s main focus, however, won’t be the sparkling fireworks display on the night of the 10th or the great live musical performances. John M. Downs, member of the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office, says, “The overriding significance is that Chesapeake has been selected by the Port Authority of New York to receive a portion of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.” This historic artifact will be unveiled at the festival as military jets fly overhead. You’ll get a chance to get your picture taken with the artifact, which will remain in Hampton Roads and be a permanent part of a 9/11 memorial in the area.

In keeping with the Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office’s tradition of giving back, proceeds from the festival will go to a number of local and national charities, including Tuesday’s Children, which provides scholarships to the 5,000 children who lost a loved one during the tragedy.

The Virginia Freedom Festival is all about honoring the 3,000 victims of 9/11, the first responders who came to their aid and members of the U.S. military who protect us every day. And to critics who question the need for festivity on such a solemn occasion, Downs says it’s all about unity. “We want to show that the entire nation is united behind these people who have suffered and given so much. We’re Americans, and we do things a certain way.”

The Virginia Freedom Festival will be held on Thursday, Sept. 8 from 5 to 11 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 9 from 4:45 to 9:15 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.: and Sunday, Sept. 11 from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Chesapeake City Park. There is a minimal parking fee, VIP seating is $10 per day, and chalets can be purchased for the entire weekend for $2,000. For more information, call 757-435-0180 or visit

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