The Warren County 4-H and Historical Society had a ceremony to remember the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the Tribute to Veterans Memorial in Warrenton, Missouri.
The 2023 Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony at the Tribute to Veterans Memorial in Warrenton brought out a large crowd to honor and remember despite a light rain.
It proved that even 22 years later, that day is still remembered – even by those who weren’t alive yet to experience it.
“I was born in 2006,” Madison Dent said. Dent was the leader of the tribute ceremony for 4-H. “I’ve read many things, heard many things. So it’s important to honor those who have lost their lives.”
Dent wasn’t the only key player in the Sept. 11 ceremony.
Doralynn Lee brought her saxophone to play the National Anthem, and followed that up with a medley of songs representing each military branch and a rendition of “America the Beautiful.”
She, too, hadn’t been born the day al-Qaida terrorists hijacked the four planes, crashing them into the two World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon, and in a field near Shanksville, Pa., on that Tuesday morning in 2001.
“It makes me feel so grateful to be able to help celebrate such a really important thing in history that has happened and it makes my heart feel so full that people are actually here to listen to it and actually appreciate what we’re doing,” Lee said. “It’s definitely something that everyone needs to know about.”
While a number of young 4-H members attended the ceremony, there were a number of other people present who did remember the horrors of that day that saw 2,977 Americans killed.
Everyone can remember where they were when they first heard the news that the United States was under attack.
“I was in a patrol car,” said Gary Reubling, the ceremony’s keynote speaker. He was a captain with the St. Peter’s Police Department. “I was on duty. It was a day watch. … So I went to the police station and turned on the TV and it’s all history from there.”
In his address, Ruebling made an appeal to the crowd’s – and the county’s – patriotism.
“I want you to leave here walking a little taller,” he said. “I want you to be a little prouder of your heritage and proud to be in America.”
He also called for people to unite and to remember the costs of American freedom.
“We live in more than a place on the map. “It’s an idea, an idea manifested in its people.”
Then he issued a challenge.
“The question then is not where you were on 9/11/01. It’s where are you today?” he asked the crowd. “I would believe that you teach your children well, the value, the glory, the greatness of America. We represent the freedom that so many people on this earth see but so few can really understand this nation. … We are where everyone wants to be.”
After the ceremony, Ruebling reflected on the ceremony.
“It makes me feel good to know that people are interested,” he said.
He was also happy that the veteran’s memorial could serve as the backdrop for the ceremony. He said one of the objectives of the memorial was to teach kids about history, including the 72 residents of Warren County who have been killed in action in wars going back to World War I.
And as for Dent, the leader of the ceremony, she said the tribute itself was important to the community.
“It shows that the community can come together and support one another,” she said. “People just like me, I was not born, but people do come together to honor those who served and lost their lives and everything. And it really strengthens the community to see all this happening.”
She also tied the ceremony back to 4-H.
“It’s all about giving back to our community and the people who gave to us in the first place,” she said. “So we’re giving back to them.”
About the author: Jason Koch is the editor of The Warren County Record, and covers local news and government for the newspaper. He has won multiple awards from both the Indiana and Illinois APME and from the Illinois Press Association. He can be reached at 636-456-6397 or at email@example.com
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