CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument hosted a memorial service for the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Saturday in Public Square.
The two-part ceremony began inside the memorial room of the monument, marking the time of each of significant moment in the timeline of Sept. 11, 2001. The second part was a formal memorial service held outside on the monument's northwest corner.
Several area residents were in attendance to mark the 20th anniversary
Lyn Kral from Olmsted falls remembers exactly where she was that day, like so many others on that blue-skied morning.
“I was sitting where I was working, I actually heard it on the radio that a plane hit the tower. I asked a few people and they said they didn’t hear anything,” Kral said. “But the president of the company, his daughter was at the Verizon center next door, and called him. We all converged around a TV, dumbfounded.”
Kral has close connections to that day. She had friends working on the 96th floor of one of the towers who never made it out.
“They normally didn’t get to work until like 10 o’clock,” Kral said. “They got there early that day.”
Representatives from various branches of the armed forces were on hand to present ceremonial wreaths for each branch of the military.
Petty Officer 1st Class Stephanie Bull presented the wreath from the Navy and remembers being in journalism class in high school when she heard the news.
“It seemed like time kind of stopped and stood still,” Bull said.
Coming from a military family, she was honored to be a part of the memorial service. While the chaos that day didn’t have a direct impact on her, the subsequent military conflict that followed did.
“Through the years I’ve lost close ones due to the war on terror that began on 9/11,” Bull sad. “Honoring those loved ones who have gone, and those selfless acts, is the most important thing we can do.”
Members of the Cleveland Fire Department, Police Department and EMS each placed a wreath on the steps of the memorial for each of the planes that were hijacked, and one for the first responders killed in the attack.
“I knew on that particular day, when I saw those firefighters going in to those two towers, that they were going to risk their lives,” said Chief Angelo Calvillo. “They knew what they were up against.”
Chief Calvillo had just finished up a shift with ladder 13 and was headed home when he learned that the planes had crashed into the World Trade Center. Like many, he was glued to the television the remainder of the day.
“Twenty years ago, this happened on a blue, sunny sky like this. Everything was perfect, and all of the sudden that tragedy hit,” Calvillo said. “I remember walking down the street with my wife later that evening, and we were shocked. There was no air traffic, and it was silent.”
What marked the days and weeks after the horrific attack was a resurgence of American pride and unity. Something that Kral says could be used in the years since the attacks.
“The country came together after that. And with everything going on in the world right now, I wish it would bring people back together again,” Kral said. “You have to remember, because you don’t want it to happen again.”
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