Tuesday’s the 11-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
Events are not occurring local this year, but in downtown Milwaukee, Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn and Gurmal Singh of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin
While the will occur every-other-year, it’s clear the memories of the attack on our nation will stay with residents for the rest of our lives.
Daniel Jens, a Carroll University student in September 2011 studying communications, remembered exactly where he was on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I'll never forget where I was that day," Jens said in September 2011. "There isn't a day that goes by where I don't think about what happened and why I was inspired to enlist."
"I remember thinking to myself as I was working from home that we are never going to be the same. … I remember thinking what I was doing didn’t matter to anyone. … In the grand scheme of things and the grand scheme of life, it didn’t mean nothing to no one,” Jens said. “I kept thinking I wanted to something more, something more meaningful with my life as I looked at my son."
Former Waukesha Mayor Carol Lombardi recalled the events that day as she received phone call after phone call about what the city would do if the terrorists would crash into nearby Chicago or Milwaukee. Lombardi remembers being thankful the city had just adopted its new emergency preparedness plan, which outlined what the city government could do if a disaster loomed before the Waukesha residents.
“One of the things as mayor of the community, you truly are responsible for the safety of your community,” Lombardi said in August 2011. “… That morning, when I came into the that bombing was just beginning at that World Trade Center.”
The entire nation felt the devastation, Lombardi said, as the news reports, images and stories began flooding in about the four planes that had hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.
“I especially did a lot of praying in my car as I was driving up to City Hall to let me show the leadership to this community, to reassure persons that for any kind of emergency, we were trained and ready to assist them – whether that would be seeing people fleeing from Chicago, seeing people fleeing from Milwaukee out here, because nobody knew if there would be next attacks or where they would be,” Lombardi said.
Waukesha County Technical College associate dean of criminal justice, Brian Dorow, had just left the at the conclusion of working the late night shift as a city police officer. He was about to go to bed after working from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. when his wife called him to tell him to turn on the TV.
“I probably watched the news for a day straight without moving,” Dorow said. “I have a really significant tie to the incident.”
Dorow just didn’t know it until hours later when he received a phone call from a mutual friend who had introduced him to John P. O’Neill.
O’Neill, a retired deputy director of the FBI, had just started working at the World Trade Center, heading up the security of the building. When the first tower was hit by the hijacked airplanes, O’Neill quickly ran into second tower.
He didn’t make it.
Beyond a career of trying to take down terrorist Osama bin Laden, O’Neill was Dorow’s mentor. O’Neill encouraged Dorow in his days after college to pursue his career in law enforcement.
“He was a neat guy, a really neat guy,” Dorow said.
Firefighters from across the state gathered in September 2011 in a that lost their lives in the line of duty on Sept. 11, 2001
Cody Brueggen, Brad Pellegrino and Dennis Graff from the participated in the Sept. 11 memorial stair climb last year.
“It’s a tough physical event," said Brueggen in September 2011, who promoted the event and organized the people in Waukesha’s Fire Department.
"It’s going to be pretty grueling physically and it’s a small token to actually feel like what my firefighters went through that day,” he said before the event. “It’s small in the scheme of things that I could do to honor the dead, who gave their lives that day."