This Is Home: Two Students Walk for 9/11 Memorial

Dylan Powell and Ariella Latte of Parkersburg High School took it upon themselves to honor those who have been affected by the tragedy.
Dylan Powell and Ariella Latte of Parkersburg High School took it upon themselves to honor those who have been affected by the tragedy.
Published: Sep. 15, 2023 at 11:59 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - 22 years after the tragedy at the World Trade Center in New York City, high school senior Private First-Class Dylan Powell and high school sophomore Ariella Latte decided to take it upon themselves to honor those who passed and were affected by an event that happened before they were even born.

“Yeah, basically to memorialize September 11th, I took upon myself, you know, being an American soldier, you know, I want to do a little road march or whatever to commemorate all the following people, firefighters, EMS, civilians, even military, that have been through so much.”

The idea was a spontaneous thought by Powell, who is currently a Pfc. in the West Virginia Army National Guard that led to a 4.4-mile trip.

“Yeah, so we started here at the high school right here at the horseshoe, and then we took off and we went down Grand Central all the way down till we hit the mall. And then we relaxed a little bit at the mall and then we came back and took the same route back. It was 4.4 miles in total.”

During the walk, Powell wore full combat gear and carried a 65-to-70-pound rucksack.

“You know all the weight and sweat and all that that are poured into it. Just commemorate all the soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan and that have sweat and lost their lives and stuff.”

Throughout all of this, he had the support of Ariella Latte, who joined Powell in the endeavor in solidarity of the memorial itself, as well as overall support.

“I was like, hey, I’m going on this. Would you like to go on with me? Help me out with it for companionship, and, you know, just mobile support through it all. And she said, of course, I’ll do anything. She was right there all the time” says Powell.

Latte continues in saying, “, 911, it was a very big thing in our world. It was very scary for a lot of people, even though I wasn’t here for it, I would like to help as much as I can to bring some view on it to where people will like actually see that that stuff happens. And people lose their lives.”

When asked about their future plans, Latte says that she also plans on enlisting in the National Guard in her junior year of high school. As for Powell, he says that he will continue to work for the engineers in the 1092nd in the West Virginia National Guard, and eventually study criminal justice in college to work in law enforcement after his retirement from the military.

“...and then while I’m there, I’m gonna be conducting the ROTC program at college and get my commission as an officer in the military, and then go down that route, which is another eight years. And then I’ll just finish out the little four years with reserves or stay National Guard.”

When asked if they would repeat the Memorial Walk, Powell said that it would be something that they would like to do again.

L.V. Hissem for WTAP news. This is home.