Twenty years ago, the United States was a country in shock.
Hijackers had carried out the deadliest terrorist attacks on American soil, killing thousands in New York City, Washington and Pennsylvania.
Today the events of that day are the focus of a solemn memorial in Erie.
Tribute, remembrance, and mourning on Erie’s Bayfront twenty 20 years after September 11th, 2001.
A bell ringing at 8:46 and 9:03, the exact times planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center.
“We’ll never forget the sights, sounds, the devastating reality that disrupted an otherwise peaceful, clear blue sky on a Tuesday morning,” said Kathy Dahlkemper, Erie County Executive.
The ceremony at Erie’s September 11th memorial honored the thousands who died that terrible day and thousands more since.
One of the people on hand was a retired U.S. Navy veteran who was stationed on a ship in New York’s outer harbor on September 11th. He quickly realized his country was at war.
“We got underway that day. We only had defensive missiles on the supply ship. We loaded a missile,” said Charles Lehr, U.S. Navy Veteran.
Also on hand was a large number of first responders, many of them were firefighters. The New York City Fire Department lost 343 people on September 11th.
“It’s always nice to see when the community can come together and honor the men and women who died that day, and it’s nice to see it continue after 20 years,” said Wesley Rounds, Erie Firefighter.
The centerpiece is a steel beam recovered from the remains of the World Trade Center buildings and brought here to make sure that we never forget.
One by one speakers reminded the crowd that the ceremony is as much about the future as it is the past.
“One day to will be left to generations that come after the events of 9/11 to carry on that promise to never forget,” said Dahlkemper.
What they remember is up to each and every one of us today.
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