SIERRA VISTA — While serving as principal at Village Meadows Elementary School from 2005 to 2016, Scot Roppe organized a 9/11 remembrance.

“I started it as a tribute to first responders, on a rather small scale,” he said. “Every 9/11, we would do something to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks and we paid tribute to first responders.”

In 2007, Roppe’s soon-to-be son-in-law Philip McGeath visited the pit where the Twin Towers once stood, and was deeply moved by the experience.

“After he saw what was left of the Twin Towers, it hit his patriotic heart,” Roppe said. “His dad had served in the Air Force, and he wanted to do his part to help the country.”

He dropped out of his third year of college at the University of Nebraska and joined the United States Marine Corps.

McGeath went to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina for boot camp. He then left for Afghanistan.

“In July 2010 he and my daughter were married,” Roppe said.

McGeath later returned to Afghanistan, and just five days before he was to come home, he was killed.

“After losing my son-in-law in 2012, we made the remembrance at Village Meadows much bigger as a tribute to all the people who were killed in the initial attacks, as well as the first responders. There were so many people impacted by these attacks.”

Roppe’s son went into the Navy because of McGeath and his influence. In addition, three of McGeath’s four brothers joined the Marine Corps.

“His influence was far reaching,” Roppe said. “Philip was a great guy, well liked by everyone who knew him. I still see the pain in my daughter’s eyes every day.”

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