9/11 tribute focuses on remembering victims’ efforts, honoring those putting ‘lives on the line’

BEAVERCREEK — Honoring nearly 3,000 killed as a result of 9/11 while recalling the deadliest attack on U.S. soil was the focus at a Sunday morning tribute.

More than 100 people came to the 9-11 Memorial in Beavercreek under overcast skies to remember those who died in New York, at the Pentagon and in rural Pennsylvania as a result of the 2001 morning suicide missions of terrorists on hijacked planes.

“There are many of you … who know exactly where you were 21 years ago at this very hour,” Beavercreek Mayor Bob Stone said in a ceremony that included prayer, the laying memorial wreaths and a series of bell tolls.

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

“But there are a lot of you here today that do not. And it is our responsibility to make sure that those generations that have followed us — and will follow them — always remember this day,” he added.

That includes actions of first responders to New York’s World Trade Center towers — which crumbled that day — and the Pentagon, medical professionals who worked to save them, civilian airline passengers, and military veterans who later fought in the war on terror.

“They did that knowing the risks. And it was a final act for so many,” Stone said.

Beavercreek’s ceremony, which included several first responders, was among the local events scheduled this weekend paying tribute to 9/11. Fairborn and Wright State University also scheduled a Sunday remembrance.

Others were held on Friday and Saturday in Miamisburg, Trotwood and at the University of Dayton.

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Credit: NICK BLIZZARD/STAFF

Daytonian Charles Rasmussen said he came out to the Beavercreek memorial to show his respect.

“It’s on my heart because I’ve got a lot of family and friends who are military,” said Rasmussen, 51.

He wants to “just keep the memory of that and to honor the military and law enforcement and other people out there that are putting their lives on the line every single day to keep us safe and secure.”

That 2001 morning, four commercial planes were hijacked with two crashing into both New York skyscrapers, one slamming into the Pentagon near Washington D.C., and a third nosediving into the ground near Shanksville, Pa. All of the crashes occurred within two hours.

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It is widely believed that the hijackings would have led to more deaths as the plane crashing in rural Pennsylvania was thought to be headed for the U.S. Capitol.

Instead, passengers aboard Flight 93 rammed the cockpit, ultimately resulting in the plane plunging to the earth at more than 500 miles per hour.

“Remember those who gave life — some voluntarily … and some not voluntarily,” Lifehouse Church Pastor Brian Huff told those gathered in Beavercreek.

Huff specifically noted the efforts of the Flight 93 passengers, who became aware of the earlier hijacked plane crashes through telephone calls they made in flight to loved ones.

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“Their courage and selflessness no doubt saved many lives. They will never be forgotten. That what today is all about,” he said.

Honoring 9/11 “is all about remembering. It’s all about (how) the power of a situation can hurt us and it can bring pain,” Huff noted.

“If we forget why that pain was there, that pain becomes useless,” he added. “But if we take that pain and we learn from it and we grow from it and we stretch from it, we become better.”

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