The ceremony was solemn Wednesday as a small crowd along with members of VFW Post 5266 gathered to commemorate those who lost their lives during 9/11.
Larry Banks, who served as a petty officer in the U.S. Navy, gave remarks at the ceremony, speaking about sacrifice and heroism of firefighters, police officers, airplane passengers and crew members as they fought terrorists miles in the sky or battled flames at the World Trade Center.
“It was difficult for us to grasp the scope of tragedies that day,” Banks said. “It was one of the single most tragic days in our nation’s history and many of us thought it was the worst day of our lives.”
The ceremony, honoring the events that took place 18 years ago, began with the VFW post’s honor guard giving a rifle salute. They stood at attention, ramrod straight with their rifles in front of them, giving respect.
The flag at the post was then raised to full staff before once again being lowered to half-staff.
Banks told the crowd how even though the events were painful, the nation can take solace in how it came together as one after that day.
“That day, we refused to allow evilness to triumph over good,” he said. “The accounts of hope and heroism that emerged from the rubble of ground zero, the Pentagon and the rural Pennsylvania field (where one plane crashed), inspired us all.”
The 9/11 attacks were a series of four coordinated attacks by al-Qaeda terrorists. Two hijacked passenger planes struck the World Trade Center where both towers fell, another plane struck the Pentagon and a last plane came down in Pennsylvania, stopped from reaching its destination by passengers aboard.
More than 2,900 people died that day.
“The resolve born out of tragedy has made us stronger and has made us better as a nation,” Banks said. “The terrorist attacks 18 years ago did not weaken us or dampen our spirit.”
The ceremony Wednesday morning ended with a 21-gun salute from the VFW honor guard.
As the rifles fell silent, “Taps” was played by two buglers.