Ceremonies in C-U Remember September 11th Attacks

Champaign Fire Department bagpipers, Capt. Todd Hitt and Firefighter Zach Tish.

Champaign Fire Dept. Captain Todd Hitt (left) and Firefighter Zack Tish played "Amazing Grace" at the close of the 9/11 remembrance ceremony at West Side Park in Champaign on Tuesday.

The ringing of a fire bell marked a ceremony at West Side Park in Champaign Tuesday morning, on the 17th anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

The bell rang three times, in memory of the 2,996 people, including 343 firefighters, who were killed in the crashes of four hijacked planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia, and a farm field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Champaign Fire Dept. Lieutenant Pat Devaney noted that there have been continued casualties from the attacks, as first responders who worked in the wreckage of the World Trade Center have succumbed to cancer and respiratory ailments.

Speakers at the Champaign ceremony also noted that as the years past, a new generation is coming up with no common memory of the attacks.

“And those who were born on this day in 2001 are beginning their junior year in high school,” said Champaign Fire Dept. Lieutenant Pat Devaney, president of the Associated Firefighters of Illinois. “For those of fresher faces amongst our police and firefighter forces, they were beginning elementary school. And for my ten-year-old son, the events of 9/11 are more distant than the Vietnam War was for me as a youth.”

Both Devaney and Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig said that the passage of time means that ceremonies remembering the sacrifices and losses of 9/11 are event more important.

The Champaign ceremony took place near the Police and Fire Memorial at West Side Park, starting at 8:46 AM Central Time. It was 8:46 AM Eastern Time on September 11, 2001 that hijackers flew American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.

Another 9/11 memorial ceremony was held an hour earlier outside the Urbana City Building, where Mayor Diane Marlin and other city officials spoke, and a bagpiper played “Amazing Grace”.

Other events remembering the 9/11 attacks have been scheduled for the afternoon in Champaign-Urbana.

University of Illinois ROTC units escorted by the Urbana Fire Department are scheduled to make their annual 9/11 run through the Urbana campus at 4:30 PM.

And a 9/11 remembrance ceremony is scheduled for 5 PM at the William F. Earnest American Legion Post 559 at 704 North Hickory Street in Champaign. Urbana Fire Marshal Phil Edwards will be the keynote speaker at the outdoor ceremony.

Story source: WILL