It has been 13 years since a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks launched by the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda upon the United States in New York City and the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area on Tuesday, September 11, 2001 occurred. The attacks killed approximately 3,000 people and caused billions of dollars of damage.
Nineteen al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger airliners so they could be flown into buildings in suicide attacks. Two of those planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center (WTC) complex in New York City. Within two hours, both towers collapsed with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the WTC complex, as well as significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures.
A third plane, American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, was targeted at Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers.
In Tioga County, N.Y. responders held a remembrance ceremony to honor those who perished in these attacks. Gathering at the Owego, N.Y. fire station on North Avenue, responders and members from the Tioga County Veteran’s color guard proceeded to the Fireman’s Fountain located at the Courthouse Square in Owego after forming at 8:30 a.m.
Jim Raftis, Korean War Veteran, spoke to responders and guests who surrounded the fountain for a moment of remembrance at approximately 8:45 a.m., the time of the attacks.
Raftis spoke to guests and asked them to honor, and remember those who lost their lives in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. George Hall, Fire Police Chaplain, offered the benediction, Andrea McBride sang the star spangled banner, Tim Taft played taps, and Troop C’s New York State Police Investigator Jeremiah Allen, concluded the event by departing the fountain while solemnly playing his bagpipes.
In attendance at the ceremony was Mara Grace, an attorney from Brooklyn in New York City who is now working in Tioga County, N.Y.
According to Grace, her former office in Brooklyn was located in direct sight of the World Trade Center, and she was a witness to Tower 1 when it came tumbling down.
“It was almost apocalyptic,” said Grace of the scene in New York City following the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
She continued, “It took a few minutes for us to realize what was happening, and we had a lot of people we knew who were affected as they saw individuals jumping out of the building as it tumbled.”
The Brooklyn Attorney moved from New York City to Tioga County several years ago, where she is originally from; but like many, she remembers Sept. 11, 2001 very well, and remembers where she was and what she felt at the time of the attacks.
This sentiment was shared by many.
Click here to view more photos from Thursday’s remembrance event. For a short video of the walk and the bagpiper, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUlATy_LVjU&feature=youtu.be and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzWqX14IoPI.