INDIANAPOLIS — People across America Friday are marking the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
Tributes altered by the coronavirus pandemic are scheduled at the Sept. 11 memorial plaza with President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden both visiting. Both Trump and Biden also plan to visit the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania. Vice President Mike Pence also visited ground zero.
Meanwhile, communities across central Indiana are holding their own 9/11 observances.
The Indianapolis International Airport held its annual Patriots Day ceremony Friday morning. The honor guard and wreath-laying ceremony began at 8:40 a.m.
“We have carried the memory of that fateful day in our minds and hearts for a generation now,” said IAA Executive Director Mario Rodriguez. “For those of us who watched it unfold, we can never forget. Yet we have continued through the decades to find strength in each other and those who lost and gave their lives, and we continue to bring peace, hope and light to the world despite the darkness of that day.”
IAA first responders and local officials from the Transportation Security Administration participated in the annual ceremony to remember victims and first responders who lost their lives at the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon in Washington D.C., and United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania.
A piece of the World Trade Center steel recovered from Ground Zero, measuring approximately 12” x 12” x 6” and weighing about 40 pounds, was placed on display in Civic Plaza for the day.
“The strength of the steel is symbolic that nothing can divide us, and is a constant reminder of the first responders at Ground Zero and the battle they faced on that tragic day,” said IAA Interim Fire Chief Steve Summers.
In 2011, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey presented the recovered steel to local Indianapolis public safety responders and IAA employees who assisted at the attack site in 2001. The artifact remains on display permanently at the Indy airport’s fire station 1 throughout the year.
The Indiana 911 Memorial Committee is planning to expand the memorial at 421 W. Ohio St. in Indianapolis, and a $50,000 check presentation from the Indiana American Legion is part of the 10 a.m. fundraiser kickoff open to the public to raise money for the $450,000 project.
The Indiana 911 Memorial was built on the 10th anniversary of the attacks and dedicated to first responders and people who perished that day. The expansion project will highlight those heroes and honor U.S.Army Lieutenant General Tim Maude, a Hoosier who was killed at the Pentagon on 9/11.
The project will also include an 800-pound piece of Indiana limestone from the Pentagon crash site, and a "Survivor Tree" from the World Trade Center will also be planted on the site. The goal is to complete the extension and re-dedicate the site on the 20th anniversary on Sept. 11, 2021. You can donate at www.Indiana911Memorial.org.
Mayor Joe Hogsett, IFD Chief Ernest Malone and Local 416 President Hank Harris were among the scheduled attendees at a memorial mass outside Indianapolis Professional Firefighters Local 416, located at 748 Massachusetts Ave.
The Emerald Society was scheduled to present a check to the 9/11 Run Foundation as a kickoff to their fundraising efforts.
A group of civic leaders planned to gather on Monument Circle at 9 a.m. before deploying in teams to areas of downtown for cleaning, weeding, painting and general landscaping. Everybody is encouraged to dine downtown afterward. The intent is to demonstrate collective resolve around the message to "Back Downtown."
The Town of Plainfield recognized first responders with the ribbon cutting of the Celebration of Service Plaza in Friendship Gardens. The plaza was built after a resident expressed interest in building a permanent "thank you" for police officers, firefighters and 911 communications officers in the area. The town chose to celebrate the opening of the plaza while commemorating their first responders on the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The event at 8 a.m. preceded the national moment of silence at 8:46 a.m.
Carmel also held an outdoor remembrance ceremony at the fire station on Civic Square at 8:46 a.m.
Greenwood held a moment of silence, bell ringing and wreath placement, but because of the pandemic, only local first responders took part in the 10 a.m. ceremony at the Gardens at Olive Branch Cemetery on State Road 135. The memorial there includes a piece of steel from Tower 1 of the World Trade Center and soil from Flight 93's crash site, as well as a planter made of Indiana limestone similar to the Pentagon.