SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — Utah agencies and organizations across the state are paying tribute and remembering the lives lost and the sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s hard to believe that many firefighters today only know the stories we tell of 9/11,” wrote the North Tooele Fire District on social media. “22 years later, only our senior members know firsthand the feelings of fear, gratitude, confusion, and ultimately resilience that went along with the events of Sept. 11, 2001, as they happened. That’s why it’s more important than ever that we never forget those lost, and those left behind.”
On this day, 22 years ago, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives and thousands more were injured during an attack on the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Virginia, and an attempted attack on the White House.
At 6:46 a.m., Utah time, American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York. United Airlines Flight 175 would hit the South Tower only 17 minutes later. American Airlines Flight 77 struck the west side of the Pentagon just after 7:30 a.m., Utah time and a group of heroic passengers averted United Airlines Flight 93 away from its path to the White House into a field in Pennsylvania 30 minutes later.
“On this solemn day, we remember the tragic events of 9/11 and honor the incredible bravery of the heroes who rushed into the buildings to save lives,” wrote the Ogden Police Department. “We will never forget their sacrifice and the unity that followed.”
Several organizations honored the first responders by taking to the stairs. In honor of those first responders who lost their lives in their rescue attempts at the Twin Towers, Utah military groups and first responders climbed 110 flights of stairs at Rice Eccles Stadium at the University of Utah. Each flight represents the overwhelming amount of stairs first responders had to climb on the day.
“I think it’s really important that we keep remembering that that was a vital moment in our country’s history,” said Navy Medical Service Corps. Captain David Lang. “I think it brought the country together and set the course of how the military did operations for 20 years. I changed a lot of things in the country. We do a lot of things differently now, trying to keep this country safe.”
Lang said he remembered after the tragic events, the security posture changed on the small base where he and his family were stationed. He said while tragic, the events brought the country together.
“I think that’s what’s important. Above all, we’re Americans,” said Lang. “We need to remember that and work in unison. We can get a lot of things done when we are all on the same page.”
As Utah’s first responders finished the 110 flights of stairs, they said it was difficult but it was important to do to put in perspective what 9/11 heroes went through.
Meanwhile, in Sandy, thousands of American flags line the Sandy City Promenade, put up by volunteers to honor the sacrifice and heroism of that day.
“It’s very inspiring to me as mayor to see so many youth groups, scout groups, and children coming to the Healing Fields. Many of them were not alive on 9/11,” said Sandy City Mayor Monica Zoltanski. “This is a way for them to understand the impact on our nation and also a way to honor our heroes for the next generation.”
Utahns can visit the Healing Fields to see the lines of flags through until Sept. 12.