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Lake Park of Madison remembers 9/11

Ashley Hunter

Greene Publishing, Inc.

On Friday, Sept. 9, Lake Park of Madison staff and patients gathered under the front porch of the facility to remember the deadly terrorist attack that took place on Sept. 11, 2001.

At Lake Park of Madison's commemorative event, local first responders from around Madison County were invited to be present.

The event began with an introduction and prayer by Lake Park of Madison staff member Terrence Bomer before Madison County Sheriff's Office's Major David Harper was invited to the podium to give an account of the history of Sept. 11.

The history that Major Harper presented was a familiar one to many within his audience; on Sept. 11, 2001, 19 Islamic militants associated with the extremist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airlines and carried out suicide attacks against the United States.

Two planes were flown into the towers of the New York World Trade Center, striking both the 80th and 60th floor. A third plane hit the United States Pentagon, and a fourth was taken down into a Pennsylvanian field due to the heroics of the passengers on board.

Following the four attacks, 265 were killed on the hijacked planes, 2,606 were killed in the World Trade Center and 125 were killed in the Pentagon; another 6,000 were wounded during the attacks.

Even today, the effects of the disaster of Sept. 11 continue; as of 2015, more than 9,000 people had filed eligibility claims with the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund for medical-related issues caused by the attacks.

“Without a doubt, our home, the greatest country in the world, had suffered a deadly attack,” said Major Harper. But through the loss that the nation suffered, the world was witness to the strength of the American people immediately following the devastation. “The [people of the] United States of America united as one; we always unite,” added Harper.

Harper compared the recent unity of Madison County during the repair following Hurricane Hermine to the compassion and sense of community that the nation rallied for following the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I witnessed a community come together,” said Harper. “When we are knocked down, we stand back up.”

Harper implored his audience to remember the attacks of Sept. 11, but to also remember the pride and unity that the people of this nation shared.

Following Harper's presentation, Captain Chris Andrews, also of MCSO, stepped forward to give an account of his own visit to Ground Zero, where the World Trade Center towers had once stood. “TV gives you no kind of perspective of what happened there,” said Captain Andrews. “It looked like the City of Madison fell through the ground.”

Lake Park of Madison's Eric Schindler also shared a few words, saying that terrorist attacks were not a new thing before Sept. 11, but they were far from home and many Americans didn't feel threatened.  After Sept. 11, however, that threat became more real to many. But this wasn't an end game for the American people. “Many would say this was a low point for America, I say this was the point where America came together,” said Schindler. “The American spirit would not and could not be broken.”

Following Major Harper, Captain Andrews and Schindler's presentations, local musician Heath Carol stepped forward to perform Allen Jackson's “Where Were You,” which asked the audience if they could remember they were when the “world stopped turning.”

After Carol's performance, the first responders, Lake Park of Madison staff, guests and residents were invited to enjoy a light brunch of muffins, doughnuts, coffee and juice, which brought the program to an end and allowed speakers, staff and guests to mingle, interact and share their own memories of Sept. 11.

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