Park City marks Sept. 11, recalling patriotism, heroism and brotherhood
Solemn procession and ceremony held on the 20th anniversary of attacks
Park City marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on Saturday morning with a solemn ceremony that recalled the patriotism, the heroism and the brotherhood of that day even as it also remembered the horrors that unfolded on the East Coast in 2001.
The ceremony, held outside Miners Hospital, drew a large crowd in the 7 a.m. hour to commemorate the times the towers of the World Trade Center fell. The event was heavy on protocol, including the raising and the lowering of the flag, and many of the police officers and firefighters in attendance wore their dress uniforms.
The procession of emergency responders, followed by the crowd, slowly moved from the Park Avenue police station to City Park on Park Avenue. An honor guard carried a large American flag along the route. Fire engines and law enforcement vehicles moved up the street with those who were walking. The music of two bagpipers provided a dignified accompaniment.
The honor guard when it reached Miners Hospital folded the large flag into a triangle before it was carried up the steps and placed next to a bell that was rung to mark the times the towers collapsed. A police dispatcher’s voice was broadcast to the crowd at the moments the two towers fell. The bagpipers performed “Amazing Grace” at the moment the second of the towers collapsed.
“Never forget those brave heroes,” Robert Keys, a retired battalion chief from the Fire Department of New York, told the crowd.
Keys spent 31 years as a firefighter in New York City, saying Sept. 11 was the “worst day of my life, by far.”
Another speaker, Park City Police Department Lt. Darwin Little, labeled the Sept. 11 hijackers “cowards” as he remembered he and his wife on that day were planning their wedding reception.
“Hugs and kisses lingered longer,” Little said about one of the impacts of Sept. 11.
The crowd outside Miners Hospital, appearing to number well over 100, included a mix of Park City-area residents and visitors. There was a wide range of ages. Some parents brought children born years after the attacks, seeming to want to instill in the youngsters the gravity of the date.
The two competitors in the Park City mayoral campaign — incumbent Mayor Andy Beerman and Park City Councilor Nann Worel — were in attendance but did not participate in the ceremony. Other Park City officials were also present.
Some of the people in the crowd showed their patriotism with red, white and blue outfits. Several carried their own American flags to the ceremony. The Miners Hospital grounds were decorated with flags, adding even more color to the flower beds on the pathway to the building. Two display tables were set up, one with the gear of a firefighter and the other with a police officer’s equipment.
Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, who served for longer than a decade ending in early 2021, delivered the keynote address on Saturday, calling Sept. 11 “this day of infamy” and saying there was a “new sense of patriotism” afterward. Herbert told the crowd it initially appeared to him to be a wayward pilot who hit the World Trade Center. He believed he was watching a replay on television of the first plane hitting when in actuality it was the second one. The attacks “changed our lives in so many different ways.”
“Out of this crucible of adversity, we’ve had many people step up and become heroes. Private sector citizens, medical personnel. Certainly our first responders — our firemen and policemen,” Herbert said.
The former governor said the people of the U.S. afterward “had more enthusiasm, love of country.”
“We sang ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ with more fervor and loud. We had flags we flew everywhere,” he said.
He talked about the country’s role in the world.
“America is a leader, and should be. Not just because we have the biggest planes, the biggest ships, the biggest bombs, the biggest war machine. It’s because of what we stand for,” he said.
Herbert said those who live in the country must be “better people” if the U.S. is to become a “better America.” Everyone can improve themselves, he said.
“My plea for all of us is use this day as a catalyst to improve our lives, to help our neighbors, to give service, to protect our Constitution and recognize the freedom that we enjoy, that we too often take for granted,” he said.
More photos from the ceremony are available here.
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