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Nation recalls the painful events of 9/11

Many remember that tragic morning
By Kelsi Bertheaume

Last Sunday marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on America that directly led to two wars and a decade-long war against terror.

On Sept. 11, 2001, four planes were hijacked by al-Quadan terrorists who flew two planes into the World Trade Center twin towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

Another plane, which was supposed to hit the capital, crashed into a Pennsylvania field after the passengers tried to take back control of the plane. The passengers managed to detour the plane from its original target, but all of the passengers on the flight were killed in the crash that took place in Shanksville, Pa.

On that day nearly 3,000 people died for our country and more than 4,000 soldiers have died since that day in the two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as America has fought its Global War on.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, Vice President Joe Biden and former presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush traveled to Shanksville to commemorate the 10th anniversary of that crash.

On Sunday, other events took place in Washington and New York as America remembered those who died in the attacks.

Joliet Junior College held a ceremony on Friday commemorating the anniversary of the attack. Part of the weeklong event to remember the victims of the attacks were the hand-sketched portraits of soldiers from Illinois that were on display on windows in the C-Building Concourse.

They were sketched by Artist Cameron Schilling of Mattoon, who drew the first portrait in August 2004 after Army SPC Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, was killed in Iraq.

JJC has held a tribute for the fallen every year since the 9/11 attack. This year, the tribute to the fallen was held on Sept. 9 at 8:45 a.m. at the Alumni Bell Tower on the main campus. The public was invited to attend.

Personnel from several local fire and police departments participated in the ceremony. Following the ceremony, the fallen were honored by a rifle salute. A continental breakfast was then offered along with a showing of "In Memoriam: New York City 9/11/01" and a live program led by Deputy District Chief Paul Martin of the Chicago Fire Department

During the tribute there was a tolling of the Alumni Bell for the many firefighters that died and a rifle salute from the Color Guard to honor those who died that day.

After the showing of the film, Martin, who worked at Ground Zero after the attack, said his team left the next day for New York City after they were confident another attack would not hit Chicago.

Martin said that when his team arrived all they could see was smoke coming in from the west, because the World Trade Center buildings, including a third one that is often forgotten, had already collapsed.

Although the attack took place hundreds of miles away from Joliet, the initial attack was felt on the JJC campus as well as everywhere in America and around the world. Ten years ago, the attacks were broadcast live on the JJC television system.

The college responded to the trauma to the college community in several ways, according to JJC Police Chief Pete Comanda and Commander Melvin Cornelius.

"[The] police department at JJC worked closely with the counseling staff and provided counseling for our students and staff," Cornelius said. "Human Resources staff also played a role in grief counseling."

Many departments took part in helping the JJC community to understand the attacks and to deal with the grief it caused. Because no one fully understood what exactly what was going on at the time or who had done this, many people sought help and support.

Ten years later, the nation still remembers that day and the terror that it brought to New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa.

JJC’s ceremony was only one of thousands of tributes held across the nation to pay tribute to those who died that day and in the two wars.

"It will always be back in our minds for the rest of our lives," Martin said.

© 2012 Joliet Junior College

Joliet Junior College
1215 Houbolt Road, Joliet, IL 60431-8938
Phone: (815) 729-9020