The presentation of the flags during Saturday's remembrance ceremony in Pennoyer Park.

On the 20th anniversary, Kenosha honors the lives lost on 9/11

Remembrance ceremony held Saturday at the Band Shell in Pennoyer Park

By Daniel GaitanKENOSHA.COM

Gaitan is a proud Kenosha native who has covered his local community for much of his professional career. The DePaul University graduate served previously as an award-winning writer for the Kenosha News.

The Kenosha community honored the nearly 3,000 men, women and children who lost their lives 20 years ago during the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Local law enforcement leaders, area politicians and musicians held a remembrance ceremony Saturday afternoon at the Band Shell in Pennoyer Park, 3601 Seventh Ave. Hundreds turned out to pay their respects and celebrate the American spirit.

Interim Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen gives an opening speech.

The event opened with the National Anthem performed by the Kenosha Pops Concert Band and Mrs. Wisconsin Elite Royalty International Ambassador 2021 Cheryl McCrary. 

Interim Kenosha Police Chief Eric Larsen said the “horrific event” continues to “weigh on our daily lives and has significant social and political consequences.”

“We are strong. We are courageous. We are resilient. And finally, we are mortal,” he said in one of the opening speeches. “One of the things everyday when I run into officers as they are going out on the road is I let them know to do good. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi: ‘While we have time let us do good.’”

Kenosha Fire Chief Christopher Bigley highlighted the hundreds of first responders who gave their lives evacuating the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers after they were struck by commercial planes hijacked by terrorists. 

“When a man or woman becomes a firefighter, the biggest act of bravery has been accomplished. What they do after that is all in the line of work. I believe this extends to all our first responders. When we remember the horrible attacks of 9/11 I pause, I reflect and I say a special prayer for the first responders and their families who gave the ultimate sacrifice, fulfilling the promise they made during their oath of public service,” he said. 

Between speeches McCrary also performed “I’m Proud To Be An American” and “Hallelujah.”  The Pops Band also performed “America the Beautiful” with vocalist Greg Berg.

Toward the end of the ceremony, the Kenosha Area Pipes & Drums group performed the “Armed Forces Medley” and “Amazing Grace.” The fire department chaplain offered the “Fireman’s Prayer” and rang the silver Fire Bell to honor the fallen first responders. 

Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Horace Staples said he knew “America was under attack” when he saw the second plane crash into the World Trade Center on television two decades ago. 

“I do want to recognize, as my previous colleagues did, the number of police, fire, EMS, paramedics and military personnel. I also want us to always remember the 911 dispatchers who had to hear the calls for help. People were calling for help when the towers were coming down and the planes were crashing. Those are some of the unsung heroes that are out there,” he said. “Today we honor those heroes and the victims who lost their lives.”

The Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, Law Enforcement Honor Guards and Armed Forces Honor Guards ended the event with a performance of “Taps.”

Kenosha Fire Chief Christopher Bigley

Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department Chaplain Karen Metallo offered a prayer.

“Two thousand, nine hundred and ninety-six innocent people were killed in the attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Every one of those people had a story. Every one of those people have a history and were deeply loved by others. Every one of those people were created in your image and likeness and were made to be expressions of your love and of your life,” she prayed. 

“We ask you, Lord, that you continue to embrace them in your loving care. Bless and console their loved ones.”