PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A virtual ceremony honoring the thousands who died in the September 11 terrorist attacks 19 years ago was held in the Rhode Island State House Friday morning.
The ceremony began with a moment of silence as Chief Richard Susi, executive director of the R.I. Association of Fire Chiefs, rang a bell four times.
Each ringing of the bell represented a tragic event that took place on the morning of 9/11:
- American Airlines flight 11 which struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center
- United Airlines flight 175 which struck the South Tower of the World Trade Center
- American Airlines flight 77 which struck the Pentagon
- United Airlines flight 93 which crashed in a field near Shanksville, Penn.
R.I. State Police Col. James Manni then proceeded to read, and honor the Rhode Islanders who were killed in the attacks. He said he knows there were more with ties to Rhode Island and honored and remembered them as well.
R.I. National Guard Maj. Gen. Christopher Callahan stepped to the podium shortly after and read off the local military members killed in the War on Terror which was launched by the United States in the wake of the 9/11 attacks.
Gov. Gina Raimondo began her speech by saying that even though this year’s ceremony is smaller than normal, it is important to remember and never forget the tragedy that occurred 19 years ago.
“I am sorry that everyone couldn’t be here today, particularly the families of those that lost loved ones in the War on Terror or September 11,” she said. “I know this is typically an occasion we can gather together in person, give one another a hug and be together, but I want you to know that we are here with you, thinking of you, praying for you, and we stand here honoring you and the lives of your loved ones.”
The governor said that while years have now passed, it becomes more important that we preserve the ones we lost so future generations never forget what happened and the personal cost of that day.
“It struck me that this year’s high school seniors will be the first graduating class born after the traumatic turning point in American history: September 11, 2001,” Raimondo said.
She also noted that as we remember one crisis, we are currently experiencing another.
“We rebuilt after September 11 and we will rebuild now, post-coronavirus,” she said. “The way we do that is if we come together as a nation, healing our wounds by being there for one another. Today we are here to remember September 11 but we are also here to recommit ourselves to the United States of America and the values for which we stand. One nation. Free. With liberty and justice for all.”
The ceremony closed out with a performance of Taps.
Raimondo has directed Rhode Island flags at all state facilities and buildings to be flown at half-staff in honor of the lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She also asked Rhode Islanders to lower their flags as a mark of respect.