Coon Rapids honored the victims of 9/11 on the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks.

Many local first responders, members of the military and elected officials attended the event Sept. 11 at Coon Rapids High School. The program had many speakers with one overall message: Never forget the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Two speakers remembered their family members who died after planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City.

Coon Rapids High School Principal John Peña lost his uncle Joe during 9/11. Something Peña emphasizes at the high school is to “be the one” for somebody, the one a student or friend can come to when they need help.

Peña said his uncle died while being the one to help others in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

“On 9/11, my uncle actually made it out,” Peña said. “But he went back in to ‘be the one’ for someone else.”

Ultimately, Peña’s uncle died while rescuing his coworkers.

Eric Aamoth’s brother died on 9/11 too. Aamoth, of Plymouth, spoke highly of his brother, who was at the World Trade Center for work.

Of the terrorists who orchestrated the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., Aamoth said, “They can never take away our way of life, and they can never take away the memories of our fallen heroes.”

Tim Blotz, a Fox 9 anchor, introduced the event and all the speakers. He emphasized the importance of not only remembering 9/11, but teaching kids born after the attacks about the significance of the day.

“We come here to honor what happened and remember what happened 20 years ago,” Blotz said. “This is the day that forever changed our lives. Previous generations always mark moments like this, like where they were when something happened.”

Daniel Hanson, longtime organizer of 9/11 remembrance events in Coon Rapids, said a prayer in honor of those who died in the attacks. He prayed for those who were killed in each of the plane crashes and those who died in the aftermath.

State Sens. Jim Abeler and John Hoffman presented a state resolution to honor Navy SEAL Patrick Jaeger, of Champlin, who died in 2017. Jaeger’s family was in attendance.

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