City officials, community members, and students alike gathered at Southeast Academy High School on Monday morning to remember those who lost their lives during the September 11 attacks.
Monday marked the 16-year anniversary since the attacks that killed nearly 3000 people and thrust the United States into a War on Terror.
Many of the students who participated in the ceremony were young enough that they were infants – or even not yet born – during the time of the attack.
Master Sergeant Marty Schaefer likened it Pearl Harbor.
“This is their Pearl Harbor,” said Schaefer. “You know Pearl Harbor is something [where] we weren’t born, but we can relate to our parents, and we can relate to our community and the suffering and the loss there. Although they don’t have the images that we do, I think it still becomes their Pearl Harbor. And it’s part of our history, it’s good to remember…”
The ceremony consisted of several speakers, patriotic music provided by the John Glenn High School Band, flag folding ceremony, and a 9/11 timeline event reading. It closed with Taps and the flag being lowered to half-mast.
Mayor Luigi Vernola, the morning’s keynote, described the attacks as “a day where our world as we knew it changed forever.”
“For all Americans, the phrase 9-11 invokes a special meaning,” said Vernola. “The 9-11 terror attacks and their aftermath have had a profound effect on our country, on our way of life; with the way we govern, how we travel, and how we see as a nation…Today as we remember those that we lost, I ask that you join me and recognize the value of duty, loyalty, and self-sacrifice…God bless you all, and these children out here. I hope we never have to do it again. God Bless the United States of America.”