Local fire departments, Legion Post 112 join rest of America to mark 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks on World Trade Center and Pentagon
by Jim Boyle
On Sept. 10, 2001, 246 people went to sleep in preparation for morning flights that would never reach their planned destination.
Another 2,606 people went to sleep in preparation for work in the morning that would never get done.
Another 343 firefighters went to sleep in preparation for their morning shift that would never be completed.
Sixty police officers went to sleep in preparation for morning patrol that would be halted.
Eight paramedics went to sleep in preparation for the morning shift of saving lives to have their lives taken.
None of these people saw past 10 a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001.
Life was forever changed as jet airliners crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in lower Manhattan.
Most everyone remembers where they were on that fateful fall day when America was attacked by terrorists in New York City, D.C., and quite possibly elsewhere, if not for bravery on the part of citizens.
People paused on Sept. 11 around the nation and here locally to remember and continue their resolve to never forget.
Remembrances held in Elk River and Zimmerman also stirred memories of all the pain, devastation and loss of life on 9/11 that will be remembered by a generation of people who were not yet born or are too young to remember.
The Elk River Fire Department held its annual open house and performed a ceremonial raising and lowering of flags.
The Elk River Fire Department encouraged community members on the eve of Sept. 11, 2021, to hug their loved ones a little tighter and remember the sacrifices that were made.
“We will never forget the lives that were lost on September 11, and the heroic acts of first responders, as well as civilians,” the department’s Facebook page states.
The Zimmerman/Livonia Fire Department held an open house and dedication of its new fire station on Sept. 11, which included a memorial truck honoring fallen firefighters.
Firefighters and a large crowd that joined them took part in a moment of silence and heard from firefighter Dan Plude, who spoke about 9/11. The sound of bagpipes cut through the emotions of the day.
The fire station dedication was marked with an uncoupling of hoses and an unveiling of a bench.
“It was a busy day,” Zimmerman/Livonia Fire District Chief Ryan Maloney said. “We had a great turnout.”
There was a lot for the Zimmerman area to celebrate and much to reflect on. For part of the day, a memorial truck from Rock On Trucks paid homage to fallen firefighters. The same bagpipes that played for the dedication of the fire station also played when the 18-wheel memorial to fallen firefighters left for its next Sept. 11, 2021, stop in remembrance of 9/11.
Shane Martin capped the night off with his music for the Zimmerman/Livonia Fire District’s annual fireman’s dance.
The 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack was also memorialized at the Elk River American Legion on Sept. 11.
The American Legion Honor Guard hosted a memorial salute to the victims and first responders of that fateful day. The ceremony opened with a prayer of healing and remembrance by Vietnam veteran and Post member Jim Lacy, pastor of Free Grace United church, at 8:45 a.m..
The Honor Guard Squad performed their rifle volley flawlessly and held their salute as taps was played by Post Commander Tom Kulkay.
The flag that was still at half-mast for the recent 13 lives lost in Kabul was raised to full staff and returned to half-staff by flag custodian Keith Quammen for the souls lost on 9/11/01.