Jefferson Community College student Douglas A. Moore, 22, remembered he was in sixth-grade history class when the first plane hit the twin towers at the World Trade Center 11 years ago. His teacher allowed the children to watch the news on the classroom television until the principal ordered teachers to turn the news off.
At the colleges 9/11 commemoration and wreath dedication Tuesday, he and about 70 other students, faculty and community members stood around the American flag to remember the tragic events that unfolded in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001.
I lost a friend in 9/11, said Mr. Moore, a Missouri native, after the ceremony. He was in the first plane. His name was Eric.
Public Safety Department Chairwoman Cynthia A. Shelmidine and Public Safety/Fire Protection Coordinator Charles F. Ruggiero Jr. remembered the police officers, firefighters, paramedics and loved ones who died the day of the attack or in the aftermath.
Its not something that happened a long time ago that has no impact on today, Ms. Shelmidine, a former police officer, said before the U.S. and state flags were lowered to half-staff.
Mr. Ruggerio, who used to live in New York City, gave numbers on how many people died, how many body parts were found in the rubble and how many children were orphaned because of the attack.
Like Mr. Moore, he also had a 9/11 link. In the 1970s, he was hired by the contracting company building the World Trade Center. He said he was on the construction site every day for months.
I had a niece who was fortunate enough to escape, he said. Fortunately, when the plane hit where she would have been, she was out of the building.
He said his New York City firefighter cousin saw his co-workers rush out to ground zero but never return.
Ms. Shelmidine said as time passes since the attacks, they are something people eventually may forget to commemorate if they do not have a direct link to the day. It becomes another day to go to classes and run errands.
Its a day to commemorate, but some people dont know why, she said before quoting George Santayana. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.