Hundreds of people along the Riverwalk held flags, the symbol of American patriotism, during the 9/11 memorial hosted by the City of Naperville and Naperville Exchange Club.
“We really wanted to make sure that we don’t ever forget that tragedy, but also it’s to see how far we’ve come over the last ten years,” said Julie Lichter, a member of the Naperville Exchange Club.
Attendees ranged from veterans, to civilians, to boy scouts and girl scouts lending a helping hand.
“We’re here to help the Exchange Club hand out programs and we’re going to stay and watch the program so the kids get a feel for what happened that day and what happened afterwards,” said Shelly Cinnamon, a Naperville resident and parent.
As a part of the ceremony, several organizations presented colors and Naperville firefighters lowered the flag to half-staff in honor of those who lost their lives ten years ago. The Naperville police chief spoke at the ceremony, honoring the policemen who died trying to save others.
“Your presence here today is a testament to the fact that you have not forgotten our resolve to never let this happen again is stronger than the will of those who wish to harm us,” said David Dial, Chief of the Naperville Police Department.
Chief Puknaitis announced the Naperville Fire Department will retire badge number 343, remembering the 343 firefighters who died.
“Each day when we place out badges on our uniforms, we will do so by thinking of the number 343 and what the badge as well as the numbers on all the other badges that were lost mean to us,” said Puknaitis.
Throughout the ceremony, Naperville residents sang as the Naperville Municipal Band played patriotic songs, which gave members of the community a time to reflect on the ten years since 9/11.
This year retired Rear Admiral Richard Porterfield of the U.S. Navy spoke. Porterfield was commanding officer to Dan Shanower, a Naperville native who died at the Pentagon. He shared moments of courage from that day.
“Two of them appeared around 8PM because they said we are from CNO intelligence plot, and we’re still on duty,” said Portfield. “Both of them had been burned, both of them had been injured, but they were still on duty.”
After he spoke Shanower’s parents laid a wreath on the site of Naperville’s September 11 memorial and doves were released in honor of the nearly 3,000 lives lost.
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