Fallon Mayor Ken Tedford is very passionate about Sept. 11 and what it symbolizes.
On that date 14 years ago, terrorists hijacked four jet airliners and rammed two of them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and another into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
The fourth passenger jet, United Flight 93, crashed in a Pennsylvania field, only after passengers overpowered the hijackers.
Almost 3,000 people including those on the four passenger jets died on that day.
Tedford said Friday the nation, state and city mark the 14th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. Tedford said the ceremony always remembers and honors the people who died on Sept. 11, 2001.
“I am honored to be here,” Tedford said. “Today, we pause to remember the Americans who lost their lives and to honor the military members, the law enforcement officers, emergency personnel, first responders, firefighters and volunteers who dedicate themselves to protect and serve Americans, Nevadans and Fallonites.”
He said he is thankful the city has taken the opportunity every year to look back to remember and to reflect on what individuals have learned as each year passes.
“This day and the memorial that stands behind me cannot be only a passing testimony to the dead. They must be a constant reminder to the living,” he said.
Although Tedford had a prepared speech in front of him, he chose to speak from his heart, saying he wanted to address how 9/11 affected him. He said the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, he had just finished a meeting with the Churchill Economic Development Authority. He said the events were still unfolding, and it was still unclear what was happening and why.
“There are so many youth in this audience today that weren’t even alive,” he said. “But you need to talk to your teachers, you need to talk to your parents about what happened that day and what unfolded in our country, on our own shores.”
Tedford said the country has never been the same. He said the country isn’t afraid after the terrorist acts carried out on Sept. 11; he said the country is more prepared, so it won’t happen again.
A friend of Tedford’s was on his way to the Twin Towers in New York City when one of the hijacked planes struck a building. He said the friend acted quickly and did everything in his power to evacuate the area. Tedford mentioned several of the military personnel in attendance who knew individuals working at the Pentagon at the time of the attack.
“While I was reviewing my prepared speech last night, I thought to myself, ‘We don’t have the Twin Towers or the Pentagon in Fallon,’” Tedford said. “But we do have fields surrounding our town. That’s something we can relate too, an airliner coming down in one of the fields. I know this community would rally together like the citizens of New York did. We are all courageous.”
As Tedford’s speech came to a close, he said he would like to remember a thought that President Ronald Reagan once said.
“Freedom is a fragile thing and is never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation, for it comes only once to a people. Those who have known freedom, and then lost it, have never known it again.”