LIMA — On Saturday, Americans from every corner of the country gathered in their local communities to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001, commemorate those who lost their lives and honor the emergency responders that continue to serve in the line of duty twenty years later.
In northwest Ohio, the weekend was full of events for locals to attend and reflect on the anniversary of 9/11. On Friday night, Spencerville High School started the weekend off with a remembrance ceremony at their football game.
On Saturday morning, Ohio Northern University hosted a special gathering starting at 8:46 a.m., the same time as the first attack took place. Following the gathering, the ONU Veterans Organization held a stair climb at Dial-Roberson Stadium in honor of the first responders who were killed on 9/11.
The largest area event took place at First Missionary Church in Lima, with a procession of vehicles from area law enforcement going from Chiles-Laman Funeral Home to the church on Robb Avenue. Officers and firefighters carried flag-draped coffins containing the names and photos of everyone who perished on that day.
“No words, no ceremony, no plaques, no stones, no amount of tears will ever replace those losses,” Pastor Timothy White said to open the service. “But what this memorial service can do is to provide for you a place today together, to come together, join together, reflect, remember and to move on, each in our own way.”
A group of 5th and 6th-grade students from the Lima Temple Christian School came to the event to lay their roses, letters and thank you cards on the caskets. Students who were born after 9/11 showed their support in perhaps the most moving part of the ceremony.
The day was met with passionate testimonies from local fire and police services, as well as salutes and sounds that instilled pride and patriotism into the entire crowd.
“The American spirit is real, and I dare say that it is God-inspired and God blessed,” said Ada Chief of Police Mike Harnishfeger. “Twenty years removed from the horrors of 9/11, we have an obligation to never forget. We have an obligation to run in defense of our nation.”
Visitors to the Allen County Museum in Lima also had a chance to experience the history of the day up close, with 9/11 artifacts that went on display on Friday. Those who went out to remember on Saturday night also had options of how to observe, with a stair climb at Continental High School, as well as the Patriot Rodeo at the Allen County Fairgrounds, which used proceeds from the event to raise money for veterans and first responders.
9/11 will never be forgotten. Even though Ohio isn’t New York or Washington or Pennsylvania, the desire and the understanding to honor those who lost their lives twenty years ago is alive and well in the state; and there’s a good chance that it always will be.
Reach Trevor Hubert at 567-242-0398