A crowd gathered at Leesburg’s Town Hall on Sunday evening to join a somber reflection about the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks.
For the past 15 years, residents, first responders and elected leaders have converged in downtown Leesburg to share their memories of that day. This year, Mayor Dave Butler urged them to not just remember the bad things that happened.
“We should never forget these bad things, but we should also never forget the good things, otherwise we run the risk of dwelling only on the bad and our memory is incomplete,” Butler said in his keynote address.
He highlighted the extraordinary actions of individuals during and following the attacks. He cited, Welles Crowther, known as the man in the red bandanna who saved 18 people before dying in a stairway at the World Trade Center; flight attendant Amy Sweeney who provided ground crews with information about the hijackers before her Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower; Col. Marc H. Sasseville and Major Heather Penny, the pilots flying unarmed F-16 fighter jets with orders to ram into Fight 91 if needed; Joe Torrillo, a New York City firefighter who warned others that the buildings would collapse before he was twice buried under rubble and survived; and Masai tribe in Kenya, which donated 14 cows to the United States following the attack.
PHOTO GALLERY: Leesburg Sept. 11 Observance
“Today and every day I encourage us all to never forget the good things—not just about 9/11 but about neighbors helping neighbors, the times with our children, the accomplishment and praise we get at work, the opportunities of living in such a wonderful and diverse economy and the laughter from the sheer joy of life,” Butler said. “Never forget, but never forget it all.”
In addition to Butler’s remarks, the ceremony featured the singing of the National Anthem by Kimberly Swift, a medley of “America the Beautiful” and “America” by Alison and Jordan Lilly, a prayer by Leesburg United Methodist Church Pastor Jim Wishmyer, and the “Amazing Grace” by bagpiper Tim Kirkpatrick.