9/11 remembered in Madison
U.S. flags stand among a list of victims' names on a memorial pool during ceremonies marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ANNIVERSARY DISASTER) Image by LUCAS JACKSON
MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- As hundreds gathered Sunday at the state Capitol for the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch recalled the Wisconsinites lost both during the attacks and the wars that followed.
Kleefisch said seven Wisconsinites were killed when the World Trade Center and Pentagon were attacked, 153 soldiers from Wisconsin or with ties to the state died in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and 32,000 service members from Wisconsin were sent to fight.
"There isn't a person here whose life was not changed that day 10 years ago," Kleefisch said.
At 7:46 a.m., the audience observed a moment of silence to mark the exact time 10 years ago that the first hijacked plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center.
Gov. Scott Walker and the head of the Wisconsin National Guard, Maj. Gen. Don Dunbar, laid a wreath to honor Wisconsin's war dead while Tyler Tuttle, 13, of the Sheboygan County Sheriff Honor Guard, played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes. Dozens of relatives of service members killed in the wars watched, some wiping away tears.
Walker thanked the tens of thousands of first responders in Wisconsin, including police, firefighters and paramedics, and the more than 400 rescuers who died in the attacks. He sounded a hopeful note as he talked about the courage and resiliency he has seen in the wake of 9/11.
"Instead of fear and horror we see honor and commitment and pride," Walker said. "That is what America is about."
The event also included a 21-gun salute, patriotic music and two F-16 fighter jets soaring overhead. It ended with families of fallen soldiers walking around Capitol Square in remembrance.
"They thought they could defeat us by knocking down a few buildings or burning our Pentagon," Dunbar said. "They did not understand that our strength is in our freedom, our Constitution and our people."
In Milwaukee, firefighters planned to climb the stairs of the 23-story U.S. Bank Building three times to simulate the 110 stories of World Trade Center that the 343 New York fallen firefighters climbed 10 years ago.
"I try not to be choked up every day that this day comes around every year. There are really no words for it. We had 343 firefighters who lost their lives for other people that day while doing their job," Mitchell Airport firefighter Kelly McFarlane said.
In a similar event at Lawrence University in Appleton, firefighters and police officers joined in running up and down the steps inside the Banta Bowl to honor their fallen comrades.
"It's not an easy challenge but again what they went through is much more difficult what any of us are experiencing here today," said Sgt. Neal Rabas of the Appleton Police Department.
And in Green Bay, Police, fire and medical workers filled shifts for 12 hours, standing at the 9/11 Memorial outside the Neville Public Museum. With the change of each shift, names were read of first responders lost in the line of duty that day.
"It's our way of saying this is something we want to last all day and it's something that people need to keep in their minds not only today, but in the future as we move forward here," said Lt. Nick Craig of the Green Bay Fire Department.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)