World Trade Center Attacks: 14 Years Later, ‘Remembering’ Has Many Facets

“Remembering” and “Never Forgetting” as applied to the World Trade Center (WTC) attacks have developed into multifaceted functions. The world is remembering not only by meditating, commemorating, and engaging in activities such as stair climbs, bicycle races, and runs. “Remembering” now also includes engaging in services that improve neighborhoods, communities, and the country and world. It entails reaching out through education to present and future generations who were not born on Sept. 11, 2001, or who were too young to remember many of the details and the repercussions of the attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C., and the aborted United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, which, it later was determined, was on its way to attack the White House.

Judging from the number and types of events planned to commemorate the 14th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11, it is evident that the promise to “never forget” is as fervent and as strong in spirit today as it was on that infamous day.  In addition to ceremonies and other events scheduled for Friday’s anniversary date, there will be dedication of memorials, some of which have been in planning and construction for many years. One of these dedications is The Flight 93 National Memorial visitor Center Complex, which has been in planning almost since 9/11.   

The Flight 93 National Memorial Visitor Center Complex will be dedicated on September 10 (7:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.). A Luminaria will be held at Memorial Plaza. On September 11 (9:45 a.m.). Highlights will include dedication of the Visitor Center Complex and remarks by NBC NEWS Correspondent Jim Miklaszewski, Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, and Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf. Both events are free and open to the public, but visitors need a timed ticket to enter the center. ( The memorial’s oral history collection now contains accounts from more than 815 people who had a direct connection to United Airlines Flight 93.

According to a report in USA Today ( the site includes a 4,000-square-foot permanent exhibit, a Wall of Names of the passengers and crew, and a learning center and  paved walkway that traces the jet’s flight path. A Sacred Ground memorial plaza marks off the point of the jet’s impact, and 40 memorial groves and a bridge allow space for reflection. The design is by Los Angeles architect Paul Murdoch, Congress voted to make the site the country’s 386th national park Sept. 24, 2002.


The service aspect of the 9/11 commemoration was first formally announced in 2002 with the launch of Patriot Day as an annual day of service to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11. In 2009, the federal government designated Sept. 11 as an annual “National Day of Service and Remembrance.” Each year tens of millions of people observe Sept. 11 by performing acts of service and good deeds.

The 9/11 Tribute Center (, a project of the September 11th Families’ Association, opened in New York City on Sept. 6, 2006. It provides educational experiences for visitors and a central meeting place for members of the community and members and friends of families who lost members in the 9/11 and 1993 attacks on the WTC. The center provides walking tours, exhibitions, programs, and online resources. Visitors from all over the world visit The Center. The 9/11 Tribute Center captures the complexity associated in “remembering” by giving WTC survivors opportunities to share their stories firsthand and to help others. It has been instrumental in instilling “remembering” into young people and, consequently, future generations, through education. Students have become engaged in their communities and are developing the potential for lifetime involvement in local and national service, according to the Center’s Web site.

Among activities the Center has scheduled for this year’s anniversary are the following:

• Its inaugural Dine Out for 9/11 Tribute. On Sept. 11, the Center is partnering with New York City’s best restaurants to raise awareness and funds for its education programs. As of Sept. 3, the following restaurants pledged their support to the Dine Out for 9/11 Tribute: Platinum Knife, Gold Fork, Silver Spoon, Locanda Verde,  Little Park, Blue Plate, Ulysses’ Folk House,  South West NY, Merchants River House, Dorlan’s Tavern and Oyster Bar, and  Capital Grille. Participating restaurants will donate a percentage of their proceeds on Sept. 11 to the 9/11 Tribute Center. A list of participating restaurants can be found on the event page,; the page will be updated as more restaurants join.

• The Alliance Singers featuring Michelle Moore of the E-Street Band, will perform at The Stone Pony, Asbury Park, New Jersey, on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Proceeds from this event will be donated to the 9/11 Tribute Center!

Educator Open House, October 6, 2015, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. The objective is for teachers to “learn how this pivotal moment in our history doesn’t have to be taught just on September 11,” according to the Center. Education staff will be showing presentations and answering questions. First-person stories from “Those Who Were There” will be featured, as will discussion on class visits, distance learning, online resources, and incorporating 9/11 into grades 4-12 lessons. The Center offers limited free class visits to the Tribute Center for New York City Public Schools. The Center explains that telling the history of 9/11 through the first-person narrative has provided educators with a personal and effective way of connecting students to 9/11. The Center expects that this Web site aimed at teachers will continually grow and is asking that anyone who has developed lessons on any aspect of the 9/11 story share their classroom experiences with the Center at More of the Center’s education resources are at

That service would become a major component of remembering 9/11 is not surprising. In fact, when we consider that service has always been the hallmark of firefighters and other first responders, adding the dimension of service to “remembering” is a no-brainer. These responders and others who died on the first 9/11 and those who worked on the “pile” and at other hazardous sites afterwards were motivated by their promise to serve and the hope of rescuing fellow firefighters and occupants of the fallen towers. Many of these volunteers have become ill or have died in subsequent years from the health repercussions that followed from working at the WTC. It is sad that “remembering” has had to be expanded to include victims of the WTC rubble and white dust. It did not go unnoticed that just last week, Marcy Borders, who had come to be known as the 9/11 “Dust Lady,” passed away from stomach cancer, which was diagnosed in 2014. She had escaped from the Twin Towers. She was 42 years old. Hundreds turned out to celebrate her life at a Bayonne church. U.S. legislators and advocates are working toward have the Zadroga 9/11 Health and compensation Reauthorization Act extended indefinitely [Firefighters Urge Congress to Pass Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Reauthorization Act

06/10/2015, (]

More “Service-Oriented” Initiatives

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation-Building for America’s Bravest Construction Fund

This organization grew in the memory of Fire Department of New York Firefighter Stephan Siller, who perished at the WTC on 9/11. The Foundation partners with Building for America’s Bravest to “help American heroes across the country. Building for America’s Bravest has pledged to build 200 smart homes for wounded war veterans. The most recent home was for a veteran from West Duluth, Minnesota, and his family.

Johnson Carpet One, in Duluth, has donated and installed the flooring for the home; it is also raising funds for the Foundation and Building for America’s Bravest construction fund.  Recently, FDNY firefighter who saw the towers fall on 9-11 visited Carpet One to bring a small section of steel from the WTC in appreciation. 

Williston Carpet One, in North Dakota, part of the Carpet One franchise, is participating in the construction project as well. A retired FDNY firefighter and representatives of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation also visited this store last week to present it with a piece of steel from Ground Zero in appreciation for its participation in the construction initiative.

LemonAid Block Party, Illinois

This event illustrates remembering, service, and involvement of youth. It is scheduled for Sept. 11, 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Bonnie Brae between Oak and Chicago avenues in River Forest, Illinois. According to the River Forest News, the idea of a lemonade sale originated with Patty Henek and her neighbors, who wanted to do something positive and locally on the first anniversary of 9/11, and they wanted the children to be involved. Since the children were used to running lemonade stands, a lemonade sale was chosen. The first year, the project raised $400 selling lemonade and homemade treats. In 2014, the event raised more than $37,000 for two local organizations.

This year, the event has become the LemonAid Block PartyThe neighbors suggest an organization to benefit from the fundraiser each year, and members vote online. The nominated organizations are interviewed; two are chosen. This year, the fundraiser will benefit the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Parents Allied with Children and Teachers for Tomorrow.

Oak Park and River Forest High School sophomores Hannah Keidan and Patrick McNichols, respectively, who have worked on the fund-raiser since its inception, are cochairs of this year’s event. For more information about the LemonAid fundraiser, visit


Historical and international aspects also figure into this 14th anniversary–albeit by accident or “by design.”  Pope Francis will visit the United States later in September and will meet with the 9/11 families on September 25. Pope Francis’ U. S. visit will be streamed live and televised. According to Nicola Menzie of the Christian Post Reporter ( “His stop at the Ground Zero memorial in New York City amid commemoration of the deaths of thousands due to terrorism has been described by organizers as an ‘extremely important event for the world.’ ” It is also noteworthy that the pope will be stopping in Cuba before coming to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Philadelphia.

The meeting with the 9/11 families take place outside by the twin reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, according to Helen Osman, secretary of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Then, Pope Francis will attend “a multi-religious event” in Foundation Hall, which is expected to be attended by some 700 individuals. Osman notes:

“The backdrop of that event is the slurry wall which stood after the towers fell. The fact that that wall stood, saved so many more lives. It could have been even more of a tragic event. That backdrop, while representatives of all of these religions and faiths are gathered there, it’s just a hugely symbolic setting. So I think that will be an extremely important event for the world.”

Learn more about the papal visit at (At press time, the site was under construction.


Also this year, anniversary events include movements to cultivate peace and increase understanding of our Muslim neighbors. One example is a billboard in New Jersey on I-95 According to Hannan Adely, of New Jersey’s The Record, the billboard states: “Muhammad believes in peace, social justice, women’s rights.” The billboard lists a phone number and the name of a Web site. (See photo)

It  is part of a national campaign by the Islamic Circle of North America, which, according to The Record, has posted billboards in cities across the United States.

There is also the Reconciliation Preaching Prize competition sponsored by the Parish of Trinity Church, across from Ground Zero. Rev. David Peters, of Austin, Texas, an Army chaplain, will deliver “Learning War and Reconciliation,” the sermon that won him the national prize, during a special morning service, at St. Paul’s Chapel, part of the Trinity Church parish, Rev. Dr. William Lupfer, pastor of Trinity Church, explains that Peter’s message is that “reconciliation is learned and has to be practiced.” Peters’ sermon will be webcast live at ( Lupfer got the idea for the contest after interacting with the many visitors to the WTC site who are still deeply affected by the attacks that occurred more than a decade later. The contest is open to people of all faiths. This Episcopal church is known as “The Little Chapel That Stood,” because although it is directly across from the WTC, it was not damaged when the twin towers came down. It was turned into a makeshift shrine, and volunteers and responders came to know it as a place of rest and renewal.

WTC Memorial Ceremonies

According to the New York City Insider Guide, ( at 8:46 a.m., when the first plane crashed into the North Tower, the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, rector of Trinity Wall Street, will ring the Bell of Hope in a pattern of “four fives,” (five strikes, repeated four times), the traditional firefighters’ salute to the fallen. At 12:30 p.m., the Rev. Emily Wachner will preside over a Mass for Peace. Doors open at 8 a.m.

Sept. 11, 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. The ceremony is not open to the public, but it will be televised. Six moments of silence will be observed:                

  • 8:46 a.m. American Airlines Flight 11 strikes the North Tower (1 WTC)
  • 9:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 175 strikes the South Tower (2 WTC)
  • 9:37 a.m. American Airlines Flight 77 strikes the Pentagon
  • 9:59 a.m. South Tower (2 WTC) collapses
  • 10:03 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Somerset County, PA
  • 10:28 a.m. North Tower (1 WTC) collapses

The reading of the names will begin after the first citywide moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.

At 3:00 p.m., the 9/11 Memorial Plaza will be open to the public for a special viewing of Tribute in Light, which will illuminate the New York City sky just south of the Memorial site and will remain open until midnight. Blue twin beams are presented annually by the Municipal Art Society of New York; they will shine from dusk on Sept. 11 through dawn the next day.

See some of the scheduled 14th anniversary events from around the country HERE.

343: A Tribute to the Fallen Firefighters of 9/11

Mary Jane DittmarMARY JANE DITTMAR is senior associate editor of Fire Engineering and conference manager of FDIC. Before joining the magazine in January 1991, she served as editor of a trade magazine in the health/nutrition market and held various positions in the educational and medical advertising fields. She has a bachelor’ degree in English/journalism and a master’ degree in communication arts.

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