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Lodi residents commemorate 10-year anniversary of 9/11

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Posted: Saturday, September 10, 2011 10:51 am | Updated: 7:01 am, Mon Sep 12, 2011.

Two minutes before 9:11 a.m. on Saturday, a cloud of silence suddenly blanketed the audience at Hutchins Street Square.

Women chatting under a tree put their fingers to their lips to quiet a group of children standing next to them.

A man on a cell phone rushed to say good-bye before shoving the phone into his pocket.

Even a group of children coloring on the lawn dropped their crayons and looked up.

For two minutes, there was nothing but quiet.

Then, two bagpipes split the air with a triumphant roar.

Without direction, every member in the audience placed their hands over their hearts.

Roughly 100 audience members, in addition to the Lodi Police Department, Lodi Fire Department and members of the U.S. National Guard, watched solemnly as the bagpipe players marched from Wishek Amphitheater to the grassy knoll at the center of the square.

Three members of the National Guard marched stoically to the flag pole as audience members watched the American flag be lowered to half-mast.

Lodi Mayor Bob Johnson then approached the podium, where he addressed the crowd about how his connection to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks had him reflect not only on his patriotism, but his history with the Twin Towers.

More than 40 years ago, Johnson said he had returned to his hometown of New York City from Vietnam, ready to re-enter civilian life and begin his business career.

He took a job on Wall Street and was on his way to work one day when he noticed construction crews digging a massive hole into the bedrock of Lower Manhattan.

That hole became the foundation for the World Trade Center.

When Johnson watched with the rest of the nation in horror as the events of Sept. 11 unfolded on his television screen, he said he knew things would never be the same.

"We all lost something that day," he said. "We lost our sense of invincibility. The life we once knew, what we called normal, would never return."

Johnson talked about how the country has changed, from heightened security checks at airports to the fact that many people now look suspiciously at backpacks abandoned on a chair.

But Johnson also said there was one aspect that emerged out of Sept. 11 that he and others should not forget — that on some level, the terrorists who attempted to break the American spirit failed to do so.

"So much patriotism re-emerged after that day, and it may be perverse to say so, but I take some satisfaction in knowing that (the terrorists) failed," he said. "And God willing, they will continue to fail."

Galt Boy Scout Dallas Dorman, whose father has served multiple tours in Iraq, said his father instilled in him a sense of patriotism that he has carried with him from before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

And while Dorman was almost too young to know who Osama bin Laden or Al-Qaida were, or to remember the fall of the Twin Towers and the planes that crashed in Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania, he said the events of Sept. 11 nevertheless made him proud of his country and his father.

"All I knew when I was younger was that my dad was going out to get the bad guys," he said. "But if there was one thing I learned from him, it was my love of my country. My chest swells every time I see the American flag."

Saturday's event was sponsored by the city of Lodi and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Church members and local nonprofit organizations provided emergency preparedness information and health screenings.

Contact reporter Katie Nelson at katien@lodinews.com.

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1 comment:

  • Linda Huffman posted at 8:52 am on Mon, Sep 12, 2011.

    Mee Thinks Posts: 3

    This memorial service for 9/11 was very respectful and I am glad I was able to attend. What a tragedy this was for our entire nation 10 years ago that has permanently affected our way of life. I was disappointed more of our community did not attend this service. The men and women who perished in the 9/11 attack deserve our attention to their memory and the men and women who are constantly fighting for our freedoms that so many take for granted also deserve attention. I hope the next time there is a memorial service for our armed forces, past, present and future, that the community will show their support.

    Edited by staff.

     

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