Sept. 15, 2021 — The 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, was commemorated locally with a memorial moment on Saturday morning.
Emergency response vehicles and local first responders gathered at the corners of Bay and Maple streets in Historic Old Town for a ceremony and moment of silence. The event took place prior to the Rods N Rhodies Car Show and included members of Florence Police Department, Siuslaw Valley Fire and Rescue, Western Lane Ambulance District and U.S. Coast Guard Station Siuslaw River.
During the ceremony, senior representatives from all four groups rang the bell on the ladder truck to signify the four planes which were hijacked on Sept.11, 2001.
"Realizing that our show this year was going to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the leadership of Rods N Rhodies Inc. wanted to be sure and include some type of ceremony to commemorate that event,” said organizer Cal Applebee, a member of the committee. “We were extremely pleased that police, EMTs, firefighters and our local Coast Guard all wanted to participate, as it made for a more meaningful moment as each one of them rang a bell for an incident associated with their service. It was truly amazing to experience the way the crowd went completely silent for the event."
There was contingent of uniformed first responders in attendance to honor the hundreds of emergency response workers who lost their lives trying to save individuals trapped in the Twin Towers at the World Trade Center in New York City.
A crowd also gathered to honor the memory of those lost, standing amidst the American flags installed by Kiwanis Club of Florence throughout town for Patriot Day.
In addition, the date was honored across the nation, with U.S. President Joseph Biden visiting the three sites of the attack.
“Each year on this somber date, we remember the horror and bravery shown that day, just as we remember how we came together, united in grief and in purpose. Each year, we renew our solemn vow to never forget what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, or those who lost their lives,” the president said.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown ordered flags at all public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset.
“The tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, shook our nation to its core," Brown said. "It changed the way we see our place in the world, and brought out some of the best aspects of our humanity, as well as some of the worst. … I encourage all Oregonians to take a moment to remember those we lost, and honor the brave first responders and volunteers who saved lives. Twenty years later, it remains a day we will never forget, as we recommit ourselves to building a more just, equitable and peaceful future in their memory."