Patriot Day: Honor the Fallen, Hope for the Future
The memories are fresh for those who lived through Sept. 11, 2001.
"I was downstairs in the basement that day, had the TV on, and the news came across about 9-11 about the attacks on the World Trade Center," said Ron Akin of the Wyoming Veterans Commission.
"We knew we were at war," said Akin, who was ending his career with the Air Force at that time. "Shortly thereafter came the war on terror."
Akin, military personnel, Reserve Officer Training Corp high school students, Casper police, Casper firefighters, other first responders, and the public gathered at the Oregon Trail State Veterans Cemetery for Patriot Day to commemorate the largest attack on American soil.
The attack changed the United States and the world, most recently with the international mobilization to fight the Islamic State, Akin said.
"So as we think about this day and the sacrifices of those of 9-11 and the Pentagon and in New York City, take a moment to reflect that we still have people in harm's way fighting this war on terrorism," he said.
Many of those who sacrificed their lives for others that day were firefighters and law enforcement officers, Casper Fire-EMS Chief Kenny King said.
And in the past year, more than 180 firefighters nationwide didn't make it home.
"The firefighters, they didn't want to die that day," King said.
"They wanted to go home to their families," he said. "We remind our own firefighters here locally every day to go home alive."
King and Casper Police Chief Jim Wetzel took turns reading the names of the fallen.
Thursday morning, Casper Fire-EMS issued a statement about 9-11, which said in part, "Today represents a moment in history that, we Americans, put aside our differences. We Americans joined forces, both mentally and physically and came to the aid of our fellow man We will never assemble all the broken pieces. We will never be the same. Let us not forget how we came together."