Monday is this generation’s day that will live in infamy as millions of Americans remember the sacrifices made by first-responders, the military, airline passengers aboard four jets and thousands of people who worked in the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon.
More than 3,000 people perished on Sept. 11, 2001, in the worse act of terrorism committed on American soil when two jets hijacked by terrorists crashed into New York City’s World Trade Center, another flew into the Pentagon and a fourth fell in a western Pennsylvania field after passengers overwhelmed hijackers in an unsuccessful attempt to wrestle control of Flight 93.
“Monday holds for each one of us a day that cannot be, nor should be forgotten, 9/11,” said Pastor Patrick Propster of Cavalry Chapel.
Propster said the Carson City Christian Ministerial Fellowship will gather Sunday at 6 p.m. in Mills Park at the 911 Memorial site, located near the entrance of the Marv Teixeira Pavilion and the Carson & Mills Park Railroad “to prepare our hearts in remembrance of what took place the morning of 9/11/2001.” Propster said the time will give those in attendance a time to reflect, to pray and remember the horror of that September day. Several representatives from Carson City and the state of Nevada will speak, co-mingled with prayers offered by several local pastors. Those scheduled to attend are Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, Mayor Bob Crowell, Sheriff Ken Furlong and Fire Chief Sean Slamon.
“Each of these will bring words of encouragement and inspiration of the countless heroic acts that took place that day and for the weeks and months that followed,” Propster said. “Our nation recovered from this and grew ever more vigilant.”
Crowell concurs, as he looks ahead to Sunday’s ceremony.
“No matter how hard we are stamping out evil still exists,” said Crowell, who’s also a Vietnam veteran and retired Navy captain.” It’s important for us to remain constantly vigilant.”
Crowell remembers Sept. 11 well. Sixteen years ago, he and his wife were in New York City attending a convention when the two jets flew into the WTC. A week later, they walked near the site, smoke still smoldering from the rubble and debris scattered. He said the vivid image of twisted metal will always remain with him.
“It’s a reminder of what our first responders go through when they put their boots on and go to work,” he said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have the quality of life in our community.”
As he reflected back to 9/11, Crowell said it’s important for people to remember history and how the events 16 years ago changed the nation. He said society, for example, should also remember those who fought during the Korean War, which has been called the “forgotten war.” Additionally, Crowell said it’s important for the press to discuss historical events and for individuals to let future generations know of past sacrifices.
Propster said 9/11 affected many, if not all, residents, and it’s a day of reflection.
“When I think of this infamous day, which has left an indelible mark on each one of us, my thoughts gravitate to the incredible people that responded in such a selfless way,” Propster said.
Gov. Brian Sandoval said an entire generation wasn’t born when 9/11 happened.
“We need to remind them of what happened with that horrible attack on the United States,” he said. “Thousands of people lost their lives, and the country got into a war to protect our freedom. 9/11 is a day we remember where we were when it happened.”
Sandoval loves to read history, and for that reason, the second-term governor said he appreciates those who attend any ceremony, though to remember history as he did when he visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum at the site of the World Trade Center.
“Very humbling,” Sandoval said of the exhibits. “It’s one of the best museums I’ve seen … and I encourage people to see the museum if they visit New York City.”
Sandoval said he was also moved by the two reflective pools, each located where the two towers once stood. For those who died, the museum offers a subtle reminder of the people who perished at the WTC when the towers collapsed. Every morning at the pools, museum employees place a single white rose on the name of each victim who has a birthday to keep history fresh in each visitor’s mind.
“It’s one of the most meaningful things we do in visitor services, because it’s a physical reminder to all our visitors that the names etched in bronze represent real people — each with stories and lives that were cut short,” wrote Sean Evans, Visitor Services supervisor, in an email. “A lot of times, I can instantly see the moment when a visitor looks at a rose on someone’s name and realizes — ‘OK, this is real.’ Even though it might make them sad, it helps connect them on a personal level with what happened.”
Rear Adm. Gregory Harris, commander of the Naval Aviation Warfighting Development Center at Naval Air Station Fallon, visited the National September 11 Memorial & Museum 18 months ago with his family. The images left a vivid impression with Rogers.
One display that captured Rogers’ attention showed people jumping from one of the towers of the World Trade Center.
“I was watching the montage, trying to get a sense of what they were thinking and going through,” he said of the people who worked there and were trying to escape the inferno.
“We visited the museum with one of the firemen with an engine company and also visited his firehouse,” Harris recalled. “It (the montage) was incredibly well done. I was listening to people around me, and they were very somber, very respectful.”
Harris, like many military men and women who were serving 16 years ago, remembers 9/11. At the time Harris was assigned to NAS Lemoore, Calif., and was watching the event unfold on television.
Harris was a member of Strike Fighter Squadron 115 (VFA-115) which is now stationed in Japan. Over the subsequent weeks and months and later years, VFA-115 built a strong relationship with New York City’s Ladder 54, Engine 9, Battalion 9. Many firefighters from the battalion lost their lives on Sept. 11.
Harris also served at the Pentagon three years before the third jet rammed into the building; he eventually saw the damage the crash caused.
“We always seem to rise above disaster and show our best when we need to,” he said.
Harris’ son — as a young boy — told himself he needed to serve his country after he watched the horrifying events. His son is now a senior at the U.S. Naval Academy, less than a year away from receiving his diploma and commission in the Navy.
The Pennsylvania native said remembering 9/11 and Pearl Harbor are important, but people tend to remember more about the terror attacks in New York City and the Pentagon than they do with the Japanese attack in 1941.