On Sept. 11, in observance and commemoration of the tragic 2001 terrorist attacks, Palo Verde College (PVC) hosted an on-campus ceremony at the flagpole with students, staff and faculty in attendance.

Led by PVC Manager of Student Life & Development Staci Lee, the public occasion paid solace tribute to the memory of victims, families, and heroes.

“Several of my students, that I have currently – they weren’t even alive (on Sept. 11, 2001),” noted Lee to those in attendance. “One of the most tragic days in modern American history, on Sept. 11, 2001, 19 members of the Islamic terrorist organization al-Qaeda committed a series of brutal, well-orchestrated attacks on American soil. In addition to cutting short the lives of 2,977 innocent people, the tragedy also set in motion events that would change the course of life in the United States and worldwide.”

Aboard United Airlines Flight 93, 40 passengers and crew headed for California were killed when the Boeing 757 crashed in a field north of Shanksville, Penn., in Somerset County. Passengers challenged the four hijackers who had seized control of the plane before the attack’s intended target could be hit.

In Washington D.C., 184 were killed as a result of terrorists crashing American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon.

In New York, the World Trade Center buildings were crashed into by hijackers of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Fight 175. All told, 2,753 people were killed as a result of the attack – including 343 firefighters, 23 New York city police officers and 37 police officers from the Port Authority of New York.

Hundreds of first responders have suffered and died from illnesses related to the ground zero efforts at the World Trade Center site in the aftermath of the attacks – and continue to do so.

Earlier this year, legislation passed the Senate in Washington D.C. to reauthorize the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund – which provides healthcare funding for the first responders of the attacks who’ve suffered from exposure to the aftermath of Ground Zero – through the year 2092. The 97-2 bipartisan bill’s two nay votes came from Sen. Mike Lee, of Utah, and Sen. Rand Paul, of Kentucky. On July 29, U.S. President Donald Trump formally signed the measure into law with first responders and families in attendance.

“Thank you all for coming out. Remember – freedom doesn’t come free,” noted Lee. “Remember to hold your loved ones tight, extra special today.”

Before leading the morning’s moment of silence, Lee also read the poem “We Shall Never Forget” by Alan W. Jankowski:

“Let the world always remember,

“That fateful day in September,

“And the ones who answered duty’s call,

“Should be remembered by us all.

“Who left the comfort of their home,

“To face perils as yet unknown,

“An embodiment of goodness on a day,

“When men’s hearts had gone astray.

“Sons and daughters like me and you,

“Who never questioned what they had to do,

“Who by example, were a source of hope,

“And strength to others who could not cope.

“Heroes that would not turn their back,

“With determination that would not crack,

“Who bound together in their ranks,

“And asking not a word of thanks.

“Men who bravely gave their lives,

“Whose orphaned kids and widowed wives,

“Can proudly look back on their dad,

“Who gave this country all they had.

“Actions taken without regret,

“Heroisms we shall never forget,

“The ones who paid the ultimate price,

“Let’s never forget their sacrifice.

“And never forget the ones no longer here,

“Who fought for the freedoms we all hold dear,

“And may their memory never wane, Lest their sacrifices be in vain.”

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