Communities across the Fox Valley stopped Sunday to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001. In Elgin, the ceremony marked the latest in annual tributes that have been conducted since 2001.
"We never want a year to go by that we don't remember," said Tricia Dieringer,
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American Legion Post 57 Americanism chairman, who has coordinated the ceremonies every year for the last decade.
This year, Elgin organizers planned a more elaborate event than normal in honor of the 10-year anniversary of the attacks, including several musical performances, speeches, a rifle salute and sounding of the bells.
"There were countless heroes and heroines that day. We gather today to honor them," said Floyd Brown, master of ceremonies.
Huntley, Carpentersville and Sugar Grove used the anniversary as an opportunity to remember the past while honoring new beginnings. In Huntley, community members helped dedicate Fire Station 4. In Carpentersville, they dedicated a new 9/11 memorial made with two beams from the World Trade Center, and in Sugar Grove, the first flag was raised in Veterans Park.
Sugar Grove resident Mike Fagel spent more than 100 days at ground zero following the attacks. He presented one of the flags that was flown over the wreckage where the twin towers stood during the early months of rescue and cleanup.
Members of the Sugar Grove American Legion raised the flag to half mast during their ceremony. Cliff Barker, a member of the legion and president of Sugar Grove Veterans Park, said their ceremony provided the community something substantial to hold onto.
"Nobody wants to go back and relive it, but a good number of people will never forget," Barker said.
Among the variety of Fox Valley memorials, more than 3,000 luminaria lined the Batavia Riverwalk, one for each victim of the attacks. In Elburn local clergy gathered at the Community Congregational Church for a service of remembrance. The Hampshire Fire Protection District led a silent parade in its Salute to Patriotism event.