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‘Never forget’

Marshall ceremony marks 20th anniversary of 9/11

Photo by Deb Gau The crowd gathers for Saturday’s 9/11 memorial program placed hands on hearts to pledge allegiance to the U.S. flag.

MARSHALL — It was “A day that will live in our hearts forever,” Rep. Michelle Fishbach said.

On the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, it was a time to reflect on the nearly 3,000 lives lost, as well as the thousands injured and the Americans who came together to respond, she said.

“While we saw tragedy, we also saw remarkable heroism,” Fischbach told area residents gathered at Memorial Park on Saturday morning.

“It is incumbent on us to never forget,” she said.

The congresswoman was one of a few different guest speakers who were part of a ceremony at the park’s 9/11 memorial. Residents from around Lyon County, as well as firefighters, law enforcement officers and first responders, gathered around the memorial. A long row of fire trucks, ambulances and police vehicles from Lyon County communities lined up on the south side of the park, and one semi truck driver even gave a long honk of his horn as he passed by on Main Street.

Guest speakers at Saturday’s program focused on the victims of attacks at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and United flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

As he spoke to the crowd, Booker Hodges, assistant commissioner for the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, said he wanted to talk about the “why” of 9/11. Why did 19 hijackers who carried out the attacks do what they did, and why did emergency responders run toward the destruction?

“I believe the ‘why’ is the same for both groups,” Hodges said. The reason was the United States’ unique legacy as a democratic republic. In reacting to that “shining beacon on the hill,” Hodges said, “One (group) did it out of hate, and one did it out of love.”

Marshall City Council member Craig Schafer also reflected on the people who came forward to help, both in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and the months that followed.

“I want to ask you first, what makes a hero?” Schafer said. He thought the answer was love for others.

“Nobody on those planes, nobody in those towers, nobody at the Pentagon decided to be a hero,” Schafer said. They acted without thinking of themselves first, he said.

As community members reflected on 9/11 on Saturday, Schafer encouraged them to remember “all the people who ran toward that pile” of collapsing debris in New York, or to the Pentagon, or the farm field where United flight 93 crashed.

“Even two decades after the attacks, we still face uncertainty,” Fischbach said. However, she said Americans have stayed resilient. “We are not intimidated, and the American people will not back down.”

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