RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Eighteen years after the September 11 terrorism attacks, locals remembered the sacrifices made by first responders at the Virginia War Memorial.
Held Wednesday evening, the ceremony started with the United States Army Band ensemble playing ‘America, the Beautiful.’ For many, Wednesday’s ceremony was a way to bring Virginians together, while remembering a tragic day in America’s history.
“It was a heartbreaking moment in my life,” said veteran Charles Etalley.
Retired from the Navy in 1976, Etalley says every 9/11 is a chance to pause and honor those who helped keep Americans safe.
“We would not be here today if it weren’t for people who dedicated their lives for us,” Etalley said.
Etalley adds that ceremonies held in remembrance aren’t just meant to remind Americans of the attacks, but how the country united in the aftermath.
“We fell down that day, but we’re standing up now,” Etalley said. “Stronger than ever.”
As gathers’ eyes closed and the bells rang to honor those who died, the hope for all is that America never has to endure the kind of pain and loss suffered on September 11, 2001 again.
Gov. Ralph Northam, who attended the ceremony, laid a wreath in remembrance of the heroism displayed during the events of 9/11.
That’s what Clay Mountcastle, director of Virginia War Memorial and hosts of the event, says the ceremony was all about.
“People remember 9/11 in their own way,” he said. ” It’s just important they remember it.”