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Meet Virginians who went into service after 9/11 attacks

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)--Eleven years after September 11, 2001, the bell still tolls and taps still plays for the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives that day.

On Tuesday, solemn ceremonies were held across the country, including in Virginia, where Governor Bob McDonnell met with several National Guardsman to thank them for their service.

Several of the service members, including Sgt. Valerie Carrington of Hopewell, joined the Virginia National Guard in the wake of the terrorist attacks.

“To see everything that went on and to feel the pain that everyone was feeling, it was really sad,”  Carrington said.  “I was the first that signed up to join the National Guard.”

Others across the state reflected on the anniversary and how it changed the course of their lives.  For Tami Hulcher’s three children, who were young teenagers in 2001, service to their country is just beginning.

Hulcher’s son, Ryan, joined the Navy in 2007 and is pursuing a career as a Navy firefighter.  Her youngest daughter, Caitlin, enlisted in the Navy on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of 9/11, and her oldest daughter, Lauren, is a nurse at St. Mary’s Hospital.

Hulcher says all three of her children have had a lifelong desire to help others.

“To have a daughter nurse and two children in the Navy, that’s some pretty proud moments,” Hulcher says, wiping away tears.

Tuesday morning, Hulcher says she received a touching text message from her son in Texas.

“He says, I’m glad we have each other and I love all of you very much,” Hulcher says.  “Please take time today to say a prayer for those who were lost.”

Hulcher says the text made her day and was as a vivid reminder that pride and patriotism live on in her children, and in millions of others who are now proudly serving their country in some way.