MOSES LAKE — A somber group of first responders gathered near the Moses Lake Public Library early Wednesday to mark the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
“We remember what we were doing, where we were, who we were with, the sights and sounds and smells, because of the events that happened that day,” said Lt. Jay Morce, a shift commander with the Moses Lake Fire Department.
Firefighters, joined by a few Moses Lake Police officers, Grant County Sheriff's deputies and a tiny handful of civilians, lowered the flag to half staff, laid a wreath at the city's 9/11 Memorial, and rang a bell in honor of the 3,000 people who died — many of them first responders — at the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia.
“We're here to remember the 3,000 people that gave their lives on that day,” Morce continued.
On that morning, 19 Muslims — including 15 Saudi citizens — hijacked four airliners, flying two into the twin towers of the World Trade Center and one into the Pentagon. Passengers of the fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, fought back against the hijackers and forced the plane to crash in rural Pennsylvania.
Morce spoke of the “unsuspecting civilians” both those who died in the attacks and who escaped the carnage, the military personnel “who didn't know that they were targeted at the Pentagon,” the airline employees, firefighters, police officers and paramedics “who willingly and knowingly put their lives on the line.”
Morce also noted that an entire generation has now grown up that has no direct knowledge of the attacks, and has to learn about it in school and in stories.
“I also want to challenge each one of us here to pass this memory on, so we don't forget,” he said.
After MLFD firefighter and paramedic Jason Koziol rang the “Four Fives” in honor of fallen comrades, Morce dismissed the group to what was just another workday.
“That's all we've got. Short and sweet,” he said. “Never forget.”
Charles H. Featherstone can be reached a email@example.com.
Note: An earlier edition of this story stated that Wednesday was the 19th anniversary of the 2001 attacks. It was in fact the 18th anniversary, as we should have known from simple arithmetic. The Herald regrets the error.