By Meladi Brewer
GREENVILLE — Darke County first responders, the Greenville K-8 School, and veterans gathered together at the school to honor not only those who lost their lives in the events of 9/11, but to honor those who lost loved ones.
September 11, 2001 impacted the lives of American citizens nationwide when four coordinated Islamist suicide terrorist attacks were carried out by al-Quaeda. 2,753 people died at the World Trade Center after two planes crashed into the Twin Towers, 184 people died at the Pentagon when another plane crashed, and 40 died on board Flight 93 after brave passengers overtook the hijackers and landed the plane in a field.
“Almost 3,000 people died that day. Including more than 400 first responders,” American Legion District Commander Ken LaVoy said.
As time moves away from the traffic events and new focuses come to be, it is important to not forget that day 22 years ago because it critically shaped our country. Principal Rhonda Schaar advised the students that today is about remembering those tragic events, and it is used as a way to pay tribute to those who sacrificed in order to make our lives secure.
“We often take for granted the services and sacrifice until they are needed and it impacts our direct lives,” Schaar said.
She shared the importance of not only our service members but the first responders, our local heroes, as they are those “who come forward to protect us, so that we can do our job.” She said it takes sacrifice to ensure we are able to have the freedoms to do what we need to do.
“Today these heroes are standing behind you and have joined us knowing the sacrifices that have brought us to this 22nd Anniversary of this fateful day in our history,” Schaar said.
She said we want everyone to understand that these freedoms we have should not be taken for granted and to remember the lives of those who were lost during that time.
“The day is merely an event in history for some people, but for us there is a connection,” Schaar said. “A connection in the community we get to live in, and we get to live in it free of fear knowing we will be taken care of.”
On September 11th, everyone was unified and came together. In “Where were you” by Alan Jackson, he asks “Where were you when the world stopped turnin’”, and for Schaar, she was in a classroom teaching when another teacher told her what had happened. It wasn’t until they turned on the news that they soon realized it was not an accidental crash.
For guest speaker LaVoy, he was a young Army Major and a Commander of the Special Operations Unit: Afghanistan and Iraq being his main focus. He said within 50 minutes of the first plane flying into the World Trade Center, he was on the phone with his 1st Sergeant discussing a future deployment.
“What transpired that morning had a mix of feelings that bore on the lives of citizens, as they dealt with the horror of that day while observing the heroism and bravery of the first responders,” LaVoy said.
The United States had not been attacked on that scale for over 60 years. The events of Pearl Harbor are remembered by the older generation by how it brought on WWII, and now September 11th will forever hold a place in history as an important day.
“The events of 9/11 not only made us feel vulnerable, but it brought us back together,” LaVoy said.
He said they saw first hand how people showed “care, determination, and unmatched inner strength”, as the aftermath brought forth the Global War on Terror.
“It was initiated by our government with the goal of destroying al-Qaeda,” LaVoy said.
He said it started with the war in Afghanistan and extended into Iraq. LaVoy said America was to soon learn that with the events of 9/11, terrorism was not something that only happened on foreign soil. The impact September 11th had on American families.
“9/11 had a profound impact and influence on my life. It forever changed the path that I thought I was destined to live until that moment,” LaVoy said.
22 years ago, today, was an emotional event that changed the world forever. LaVoy said it is important to remember this day, as” it transformed who we are as Americans.”
This year’s ceremony was given in dedication to Principal Chris Mortensen’s father. Earl Mortensen was a police officer who passed away in June of this year.
To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Meladi Brewer, email [email protected].