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Remembering our American heroes

FROM STAFF REPORTS / Editorial

Nearly two decades have passed since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, but many of us still remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when the news broke.

Images of smoke billowing from the World Trade Center towers in New York City filled television screens, and viewers watched in shock as the towers collapsed within 30 minutes of each other. Reports of the attack at the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93 near Shanksville, Pennsylvania added to the chaos.

Friday, Sept. 11, 2020 marked the 19th anniversary of the attacks, in which almost 3,000 people were killed.

“The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors,” then U.S. President George W. Bush said in his address to the nation on the evening of Sept. 11, 2001. “Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror.”

It’s still difficult to grapple with the magnitude of the tragedy that unfolded on American soil on that fateful day; even so, we must never forget the lives we lost, the acts of heroism we witnessed and the spirit of resiliency that bound us together as we grieved and tried to heal from the unthinkable events.

In the years since 9/11, ceremonies of remembrance have been held across the country and memorials have been built as lasting tributes to the many lives lost on and after 9/11.

Locally, one such effort to honor our American heroes is the Alabama Fallen Warriors Project, which seeks to ensure future generations remember veterans from our state who gave their lives in the War on Terror following the 9/11 attacks.

The project involves building a monument at Veterans Park in Hoover that will bear the names of the more than 100 Alabama veterans killed in action.

A bronze bust of Briarwood High School graduate and Hoover native Thomas Rivers, a former Marine, will be installed, with plans to add more busts of other Alabama service members who have died.

Regarding 9/11, the first four Alabamians were killed in the Pentagon bombing, according to Hoover Veterans Committee member and Vettes4Vets Founder Mark Davis, who is leading the Alabama Fallen Warriors Project and monument construction.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the project, the goal is to raise more of the funds needed—currently between $175,000 and $200,000—and to dedicate the monument on the 20th anniversary of 9/11 in 2021 or on Celebrate Hoover Day in 2022.

To learn more about the project, visit Alabamafallenwarriorsproject.org.

Our gratitude goes to Davis and many others who lead efforts to remember and honor our fallen heroes. May we never forget their sacrifices and the heroic legacy they have left behind.

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