Chicagoans gathered Wednesday to pause and reflect on the 12th anniversary of the September 11th attacks that changed so many lives across the country and around the world.
Wednesday morning, Chicago Fire Department officials held a bell ringing ceremony at Engine 98 downtown. Similar events were held in all fire districts throughout the city, WGN reports.
In Evanston, Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl noted the importance of commemorating the 9/11 anniversary for young people who didn't live through it in particular.
"It is a searing part of our memories, but not of theirs,” Tisdahl said, according to CBS Chicago. “Many of our children have no idea what 9/11 was all about, and I think about my grandchildren, and that’s true. They were too young to remember 9/11.”
Other services are being held throughout the day in the Chicago area, including a Patriot Day flag planting memorial in Winnetka and other remembrance events in Park Ridge, Naperville, Lincolnwood and other villages. The Sun-Times reports Heartland Blood Center is urging community members to donate blood this month in remembrance of 9/11.
Among the Chicago-area residents remembering 9/11 on Wednesday is Lt. Col Ryan Yantis, of Crystal Lake, who was at the Pentagon in Washington when a plane struck the building, ABC Chicago reports. Addressing the Union League Club in Chicago, he said he saw firsthand the injuries incurred by his colleagues that day.
Another local honoring the anniversary of the tragic attacks in New York and Washington is Desiree Luburich, of the Norwood Park neighborhood. DNAinfo Chicago reports Luburich has made it a point to honor the memory of the 9/11 victims by prominently placing a banner reading "Never Forget" on her home each September.
"I hope that people, when they drive by, it makes them think and remember and maybe do one thing different that day," Luburich told DNAinfo. "I know it's kind of corny and cliche, but maybe they'll tell somebody they love them, or give them a hug."
Earlier Wednesday, President Obama commemorated the 9/11 anniversary during a ceremony at the Pentagon, saying, "Our hearts still ache for the futures snatched away, the lives that might have been."
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when jetliners crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and Wednesday's 12th anniversary was commemorated by ceremonies across the country.