PHOTOCREDIT: Clear Lake Fire Department


We often say the words “never forget.”

Never forget where you were on 9/11.  Never forget how you felt when you watched that second tower fall.  Never forget the rescue team, their faces covered in soot as they pulled people from the wreckage.  Never forget the image as grown men wept at ground zero, knowing they couldn’t save them all.

Never forget.

I don’t think I could if I tried, honestly.  I was a Junior at the University of Northern Iowa, an impressionable young adult living in a carefree world.  I didn’t fully understand what had happened until later that day.  Even classes were cancelled after the realization of what transpired became evident.

Our country was under attack.  Thousands of innocent souls were no longer in this World because of one reason: hate.  All the hate and anger and hostility against the United States culminated that day, a day we never forget.

That day changed a lot of people.  Some for the better, some not so much.

What I remember most, however, was how our country pulled together afterwards.  We may say we’ll never forget, but that is because we want to remember. 

Remember how stores sold out of American flags because people flocked to buy them?  Remember how everything shifted and the firefighters, police and first responders became super-heroes?

Remember that feeling of pride when seeing the red, white and blue blow in the autumn breeze?

The Clear Lake Fire Department will commemorate the 20th Anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a special Memorial Program held Saturday, September 11th in Clear Lake, Iowa.  From 2:00 – 5:30PM, the fire station will be open to the public for visitors to tour, as well as ask questions about their 9/11 Memorial piece perched outside the building.  Food trucks and special activities for the kids will be available during this time.

At 6:00PM, the Memorial program will begin.  Special guest speaker, FDNY Lt. Joe Torrillo will give his account of being trapped twice in the collapse of the World Trade Center.  Bring your lawn chairs for the program.

Following the program, at 8:00PM, there will be an emergency vehicle procession around the lake. Departments from around North Iowa were invited to participate in this event.  Their trucks will leave the fire station and travel down Main Ave to South Shore Drive.  They’ll follow South Shore around the lake, coming back into town on North Shore Drive before returning to the fire station.

This will be a solemn parade with lights only, no sirens, except for Clear Lake’s 1924 Aherns Fox.  This unit will lead the procession, sounding its bell and que siren to let people know the parade is coming.

It’s been twenty years since the attacks on the twin towers.

Twenty years.

This observation of remembrance is meant for anyone to attend.  And, especially for those too young to remember, all are encouraged to ask questions.

Our service men and women risked it all that day, many of them losing their lives trying to help others.

They are everything this country stands for, everything it was built on.

And they deserve that honor as we remember them, and we remember the victims.

We remember an America united.

For more information, check out their Facebook Event.