From a special concert at the Carillon to the annual ceremony on the Riverwalk, Naperville’s September 11 remembrance was filled with reflection on the past and hope for the future.
“While we pause each year to remember, let us also remember the incredible acts of humanity and heroism,” said Mayor of the City of Naperville, Steve Chirico. “As time passes it becomes more important to remember and teach future generations what happened on that day, September 11, 2001.”
On the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed 3,000 people at three locations in America, Naperville once again honored Naval Commander Dan Shanower, the Naperville native killed in the attack on the Pentagon.
“We must remember the words of the late Commander Dan Shanower ‘Freedom isn’t free, the cost of freedom is the blood that was shed so we can enjoy what we sometimes take for granted,’” said Marty Walker with the Exchange Club of Naperville.
As part of the remembrance ceremony, Commander Shanower’s mother Pat laid a wreath at his memorial here on the Riverwalk, while the Firefighter Highland Guard played “Amazing Grace.”
“It was a second family. He always said ‘I have a biological family and a Navy family,’” said Pat.
Put on by the City and the Exchange Club of Naperville, the remembrance ceremony also had the presenting of colors, the lowering of the flag to half staff and the tolling of the bells to honor the first responders killed in the line of duty.
“This was a time in our lives that were marked by scars so deep that the healing process will remain to be endured throughout our lives,” said Mark Puknaitis, Chief of the Naperville Fire Department. “But also those same scars have made our lives, our country and our city stronger because of the reminder to each one of us to pull together and help each other deal with the memories, losses and sadness that 9/11 brought on.”
Former Chief of the DeKalb Fire Department, Lanson W. “Lanny” Russell, gave the keynote address, recounting the events of September 11 and looking to the future.
“We must never forget 9/11 and it’s communities like Naperville, groups like the Exchange Club and people like all of you in attendance here today who will keep those memories alive. You will remember the heroes; remember what America is all about,” said Russell.
Naperville News 17’s Evan Summers reports.