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Lansing Remembers 20th Anniversary Of 9/11

A flag of the United States flag hangs in front of the Lansing's 9/11 Remembrance Memorial Statue. Trees and brick buildings can be seen in the background.
Michelle Jokisch Polo
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Lansing's 9/11 Remembrance Memorial

Saturday marks the twenty year anniversary of the September 11 attacks in New York City.

The City of Lansing remembered those who lost their lives, their families, and the survivors of 9/11 at a ceremony Saturday morning.

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The distant sound of bagpipes could be heard coming from Michigan Avenue as several members of the Lansing Fire Department Honor Guard marched towards the 9/11 Remembrance Memorial in Wentworth Park.

Several dozen people gathered around the salvaged piece of steel from the Twin Towers as Lansing Fire Department Chaplain Loy Lack read the names of those with ties to Michigan who died in the attacks on that day.

Names of Michiganders who died on 9/11
Lansing Fire Department Chaplain Loy Lack read the names of those with ties to Michigan who died in the attacks.

“These are those who have ties to the state of Michigan. They are not merely victims. They're honorable people who were caught doing something good," he said. "They, along with the firemen, the police, they got the bitter end of a very grievous evil stick.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, and Lansing Mayor Andy Schor attended the event.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer stands behind a wooden podium. The podium is in front of the Lansing's 9/11 Remembrance Memorial Statue in Wentworth Park in downtown. Whitmer is wearing a blue leather jacket with her brown hair down. A large American flag is swinging in the back of the statue. The statue features a twisted remnant metal piece from the Twin Towers on a concrete slab. A wreath of red and white flowers leans against the statue. The word Virginia can be send on the right side of the concrete slab. The words Remembrance Memorial are featured on the front of the concrete slab. A flag of the United States and the Michigan flag can be seen on the left side of Whitmer.
Michelle Jokisch Polo
"We stood up for the American principles of freedom, tolerance, democracy, US united. More than anything from that day we were awestruck by the courage of our first responders, the firefighters and police officers, the paramedics and more who saved lives and inspired us through their bravery," shared Governor Gretchen Whitmer.

“We all remember exactly where we were that day — September 11, 2001 — I was pregnant with my first daughter and was supposed to be in Grand Rapids for a hearing on the State Police and Veteran Affairs Committee,” Whitmer remarked after taking the podium in front of the memorial.

“I never made it because as soon as I left my house the second plane had hit the South Tower. I rushed home frantically calling everyone and anyone I knew in New York," she said.

Representative Elissa Slotkin was in graduate school in New York City the day of the attacks. She said the 400 students in her class huddled around an old television and watched the second plane hit the South Tower.

“Every one of us will remember that iconic picture of two people, which we thought at the time were a couple, who were actually two coworkers, who jumped to their death holding hands rather than be burned to death in the buildings,” she added.

Slotkin said she wants Michiganders to remember the day as one marked by the actions of kindness everyone showed towards each other.

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“I think that spirit, more than anything else, is what I take from 9/11. And it's the thing we are missing the most right now. That idea that we are on the same team, that we as Americans can be very different. But we all love this country, and we want it to be a better place," she said.

For Mayor Schor, 9/11 will always be seared into his memory as a day he vows to never forget.

“This day, the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001. The day that changed all our lives," he said. "It's an opportunity for us to remember the more than 2,900 innocent Americans who were lost that day,” he said. “The 343 firefighters that perished, the 72 police officers that died in service.”

The event concluded with words from Lansing’s Assistant Fire Department Chief Michael Tobin.

I invite all of you after the ceremony is over to come up and please put your hand on the steel. Feel the vibration, feel the spirits, feel the coldness, and remember the events that day. And remember how we came together not only as a country, but as people.
Lansing Assistant Fire Department Chief Michael Tobin.

Tobin urged everyone in attendance to keep the memory of 9/11 alive for younger generations.

"This is the first generation that was born after the events who were not alive. They have reached a point of maturity...we need to remind them not only the events of that day, but what is important about being human and taking care of your fellow man."

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