Seventeen years after the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the local community is remembering the lives that were lost that day, those who have died since, and those who are suffering in the aftermath of the worst terror attack our nation has ever experienced.
On Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists hijacked four airplanes – two of them crashed into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City; one crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.; and a fourth that was believed to be headed for the U.S. Capital Building crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
In total, 2,977 people were killed.
Today, flags are at half-staff at buildings throughout the state, such as the Utica State Office Building on Genesee Street. Throughout the nation, ceremonies are being held with a solemn vow to never forget what happened on 9/11.
Locally, the day started with the annual 9/11 Prayer Breakfast at Hart’s Hill Inn in Whitesboro. The Genesis Group of the Mohawk Valley has hosted the community prayer breakfast for 17 years now.
This year’s keynote speaker was Brian McQueen, founder of the Believe 271 Foundation, to talk about the suffering of first responders who served at Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks. Many of them have lingering health issues 17 years later.
Firefighters, law enforcement officers, EMS personnel and military members are all honored today, and one group that will never forget are those serving in the Eastern Air Defense Sector in Rome.
“I think the further away we get, the easier it is to forget,” said Col. Paul Quigley, 224th Air Defense Group Commander for EADS. “However, the further away we get, the more important it is for the country to remember what happened on 9/11 and the sacrifices made on that day and the sacrifices that have been made ever since both in the military and the first responders across the nation and abroad.”
Every day EADS fights to protect our air space under Operation Noble Eagle.
Local people who lost loved ones in the World Trade Center on 9/11 joined the Utica Fire Department, Utica Police Department and Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri to remember the victims who were killed, and to honor the first responders who saved so many lives.
The City of Utica held its annual ceremony today at the Parkway Rec Center. Family members say it’s hard to come to these events, but they show up because it’s so important to never forget.
Vanessa Kauth Graham lost her brother on 9/11.
"Do I want to be part of history? No, but unfortunately I am and I just believe that it's important for people to remember that fateful day,” she said. “People were just going to work that day, never realizing that they're never going to come home that night."
After the ceremony at the Parkway Rec Center, attendees went to the 911 Memorial near Mohawk Valley Community College to lay wreaths, and family members who lost their loves ones placed roses on the monument.