Local Commentary

A Penny for Your Thoughts: News of Greater Falls Church

Labor Day, historically, marks the end of summer and a return to normal autumn activities. This year, the return to “normal” activities will have to wait another weekend, as this Saturday commemorates the 20th anniversary of the jetliner attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon here in Northern Virginia, and a suspected attempt on the Capitol that ended in a crash in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Thousands of people were killed, and hundreds of millions more mourned, then and now. The attacks changed America, and perhaps the world, as the specter of terrorism became real. Something we thought was relegated to overseas suddenly was in our backyard.

When American flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, fire and rescue crews from Arlington and Fairfax County were the first responders. Firefighters from Bailey’s Crossroads Station 10 could see smoke rising from the Pentagon from the moment they pulled out onto Columbia Pike. Professional and volunteer first responders spent days and nights on the scene, fighting fire, rescuing victims, recovering bodies, and providing support for rescuers and affected families.

A Fairfax County 9-11 commemoration will be held at Station 10 on Saturday, Sept. 11, 2021, at 2 p.m. Chairman Jeff McKay, Congressman Don Beyer, Police Chief Kevin Davis, and Fire Chief John Butler are among the speakers at the station. The ceremony is open to the public, but parking will be limited.

Fairfax County facilities and programs are reopening gradually, and that means that Art at the Mason District Governmental Center is returning after an 18-month absence. The first artist display features acrylics by Lincolnia artist James Albright, whose local perspective echoes some classic storefronts of Edward Hopper. You will recognize some local Annandale scenes and be intrigued by close-ups of other familiar items.

Jim’s paintings may be seen weekdays through the end of October, from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. at 6507 Columbia Pike. A special open house with the artist will take place on Friday, Sept. 24, from 4 – 6 p.m. in the small conference room.
Mason District’s Site-Specific Plan Amendment Task Force (SSPA) will reconvene for a series of public meetings to review and discuss proposed land use changes for 6152 Leesburg Pike along with Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center and First Christian Church, located along Leesburg Pike in the Bailey’s Planning District.

Proposals include senior affordable housing and a future community center. The first virtual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 7 p.m. To learn more about the proposals, or to register to attend the virtual meeting, log on to fairfaxcounty.gov/planning-development/plan-amendments/sspa/south.

The Little White Church, the iconic and historic building at the intersection of Columbia Pike and Gallows Road in Annandale, will celebrate its 175th anniversary on the weekend of Oct. 2 and 3, 2021.

The church was founded in 1846 as Annandale’s Methodist Episcopal Church, but was destroyed in the Civil War. It was rebuilt in 1870. The church basement, once Annandale’s first public school, now is the repository of a lot of Annandale history, and open a few times a year. Services for small congregations still are held at the church, but it is showing its age. That is why the church, now part of the Annandale United Methodist Church campus, is undertaking a restoration, preservation, and recognition effort.

The foundation needs repairs, rotted wood must be replaced, a new exterior paint job is required, and restoration of the church’s bell are all on the “to do” list. Fundraising is underway, and the church is seeking monetary donations, as well as in-kind expertise, to extend the old building’s life.

On-line donations may be made to annandalechurch.com/giving; checks may be sent to the church, Attn: Garry Bell, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale, VA 22003. Be sure to reference LWC – 175th Anniversary on the memo line. This important piece of Mason District history must be preserved, and everyone can help.