Hoosiers reflect on lessons of 9/11 - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

Hoosiers reflect on lessons of 9/11

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Kyle Hess brought his son to the 9/11 memorial downtown Tuesday. Kyle Hess brought his son to the 9/11 memorial downtown Tuesday.
Chris Whittington didn't forget, and he says he's hurt by those who have. Chris Whittington didn't forget, and he says he's hurt by those who have.
Lydia Long, who was only ten years old on 9/11, intends to relive and retell her memories no matter how painful. Lydia Long, who was only ten years old on 9/11, intends to relive and retell her memories no matter how painful.
Kathy Coates says 9/11 defines who she is, and she doesn't intend to forget. Kathy Coates says 9/11 defines who she is, and she doesn't intend to forget.
INDIANAPOLIS -

Hoosiers paused to reflect on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks at the city's most historic cemetery.

"As we cried tears of grief and loss we became one soul. As we reached out with pride at the sacrifice of heroes, we became one people," said a man reading the inscription on the downtown memorial.

But for most people stopped in their tracks by the horror of 9/11, 11 years later this was just another day. Neighborhoods once covered in American flag aren't anymore.

Chris Whittington didn't forget, and he says he's hurt by those who have.

"A lot of people now just figure, oh, it happened and just blow if off. We got over it," said Whittington, a barber.

While the majority of Americans say the terrorist attacks are their life's most memorable news event, 70 percent of told an American Pulse survey they have now moved on from September 11th.

That's a disturbing revelation to nurse Kathy Coates.

"It's part of me. It is part of America. I don't want it to happen again. So I want people to remember we are vulnerable. I am not over it. I don't know if I will ever get over it. It is part of what I am," she said.

For Americans who vow to never forget, the challenge is how to remember a day that some day will be as distant as the assassination of President Kennedy or the attack on Pearl Harbor.

Lydia Long, who was only ten years old on 9/11, intends to relive and retell her memories no matter how painful.

"People still need to talk about it. People should discuss. Memorials help people not forget," said Long, who is now a college student.

We saw a lot of people today talking and reaching back to that defining day in American history.

"After this occurred, it wasn't about our differences. It was more about what we have in common. What occurred that day brought everyone together regardless of our differences," said Brandon Clifton, attorney.

That legacy is perhaps as significant as monuments and more enduring than our memories.

Vigil held at downtown memorial

Hundreds of people, some who were not even born when the September 11 terrorist attacks happened, remembered the victims Tuesday in downtown Indianapolis.

When terrorists attacked the United States on September 11, 2001, two-year-old Ayden Hess wasn't even a thought in his father Kyle's mind.

"I remember the day exactly. I was taking ISTEP and they dropped it all because of what had happened," said Kyle Hess, who was in middle school when the attacks happened.

Hess said he'll never forget that day and he doesn't want Ayden to, either.

"It was the day that changed America," he added.

Ayden's grandfather was part of Indiana Task Force One and helped at Ground Zero. He was also responsible for bringing a 9/11 Memorial to Indianapolis.

"He searched for survivors in all that rubble," said Hess of his father.

Hess joined a few hundred others downtown Tuesday night to mark the 11th anniversary of September 11 and honor the fallen from that day.

"I'm glad that parents want their children to know how important that day was for the whole country when we came together," said Jann Rakow. "It's amazing how fast time has gone by."

"It's 3,000 people lost their lives in an unprovoked attack on America - and that just isn't right," added Vince Ryon. "To me, it seems it just did happen and I'm not gonna forget."

Helping them remember the people who died that day are two steel beams from Ground Zero that sit overlooking the downtown canal. Passersby can actually touch a piece of history and pay their respects to the victims of 9/11 anytime they want to, not just on it's solemn anniversary.

"I think about all the lives that was lost and all the firefighters and all the people that came together to combine as one. Not different cultures, it was just one," said Lynn Dandridge from Fort Wayne.

"I think for the people involved, it's still just as much into their heart as it was when it happened," added Kyle Hess.

That's the way he plans for it to stay as he passes the memories from that day onto his son.

Indianapolis 9/11 Memorial

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