Learning to Not Forget 9/11

SOUTH BEND – A group of people gather around the “Standing Tall” sculpture in St. Patrick’s Park Sunday morning.

10 years have passed since September 11, 2001; still, that day is ingrained in Americans’ hearts and minds.

“9/11 any year is special for us, we want to remember our fallen brothers in New York City and everything that happened in the country that day,” Firefighter, Brian Kazmierzak said.

Firefighters from Clay Fire Territory and Police Officers line the up next to the memorial, in between the two groups rests a steal beam that was recovered from ground zero. Burns and scars are still visible on that beam.

“They were going up the stairs, as everyone else was coming down… and they knew they were not coming home. They never they were never going to come home again,” Congressman Joe Donnelly said.
Like many people at the memorial, Donnelly recalled where he was and what he was doing ten years ago today. The Congressman said he was on his way to work when he heard the news on the radio, “At first we saw the magnitude of the attack, and then the heroism…”
South Bend native, Wanda Clements watched it all on T.V. she said it’s something she will never forget, “I remember that day and it’s never been the same since then.”
Clements teared up as she talked about all of the heroes who took action ten years ago, “God bless all the Firefighters.” CIements said, “I cannot imagine what they’d go through going into those heated buildings.”
They are images and feelings that cannot be forgotten, but for those who were too young to know or were not alive to see it.
Mitchell Kazmierzak is only six-years-old, while many talk about where they were and what they were doing on 9/11/2001, the first grader is still unsure what the memorial is for.
A long procession filed passed all the officers and firefighters, people shook hands and gave thanks to their own local heroes.
“My dad is awesome!” Mitchell said he’s not sure why… But he knows his dad is a hero.
Kazmierzak responded, “By bringing him here, he kind of sees what it means and what it’s all about.”
The firefighter said each year feels the same, but this year was more significant for him as a father.
“Today was the first day that I talked to my 6-year-old about what happened and he can finally understand.”
Kazmierzak said the only way 9/11 will never be forgotten, is if we all pass on the memories and emotions of that day so we can continue to honor and remember those we lost.
“September 11th is always a significant day and we can never forget that and that’s the one thing, we always have to be able to honor those that we lost that day.” Kazmierzak said.

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