The ceremony began at exactly 8:46 a.m., in remembrance of when American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City after being hijacked by terrorist. After a short speech by New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan, the governor, members of the Legion, and members of the Pay-It-Forward group began reading the 2,979 names of the attack’s victims.
“The Post wants to recognize that 9/11 happened, that we should never forget, America should never forget, and we want to pay tribute to the victims and their families by reading all their names,” said John Fischer, American Legion Post 27 member and September 11th first responder.
“We read through all the names, but as you sit and think, as every name is read, that each name is a person; that person had a life; that person had a family, maybe children … it kind of hits home about what 9/11 means to our country,” said Bob Stuart, commander of American Legion Post 27.
The reading of names was stopped periodically at 9:03, 9:37, and 10:03 a.m. for moments of silence to remember United Airlines Flight 175 which crashed in to the World Trade Center’s south tower, American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed in to the Pentagon, and United Airlines Flight 93 which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, respectively.
For those who remember the attacks, the ceremony not only reminded them of one of the most historic and world-changing events in recent history, it also represented a time when all Americans put aside their differences and unified for a common cause.
“Today we had Governor Hassan, who’s a Democrat, and Al Baldasaro, who’s a local state representative Republican, who go head-to-head within the state of New Hampshire,” said Stuart. “But on a day like today, they are both Americans and it’s important to remember that while we all have differences, we are all Americans.”
“It gives us a sense of community and coming together for a common purpose, which is kind of like what happened in New York City,” said Fischer. “For the many days I was down in New York, the people couldn’t do enough for you. It was very interesting to see … No matter what [the first responders] did, the locals were pitching in; they were helping.”
According to both Stuart and Fischer, the event also served as an important educational opportunity for the younger members of the community who were either too young or were not yet born, to remember the attacks.
“We’re passing it down to their generation,” said Fischer. “A lot of them weren’t born yet, it was 15 years ago; some of the freshmen don’t have the memory. I think ceremonies like this instill in them the seriousness of what happened, the magnitude of what happened, and as they go forward in life they will have that experience and bring it with them and will hopefully carry it forward.”
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