Monday was a time to commemorate, remember and honor those who lost their lives to the Sep. 11, 2001, during Garden City Community College’s annual 9/11 observance.
It was 16 years ago Monday when terrorists few hijacked planes into the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., with a third hijacked plane targeting the nation's capital crashing in a Pennsylvania field and killing all on board after passengers bravely fought back against their captors in an attempt to take back the plane.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attacks, and more than 6,000 were injured.
GCCC President Herbert Swender said the memory of the attacks, and those who lost their lives, does not fade as the years go by.
“Though time is passing in the United States of America, there is no forgetting of Sept. 11,” Swender said during Monday’s ceremony, which took place near the quad of GCCC’s campus.
GCCC closed its campus during event so that all students and staff could attend. The event also open to the public, and various community officials, including a number of first responders, attended.
GCCC Student Association members Clara Jackson and Emily Pelican read poetry, and SGA president Clay Woydziak spoke of the history of Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and spoke about the significance of the flag the Garden City Fire Color Guard presented during the observance.
“This flag, it was flown on an intelligence gathering combat mission over in Afghanistan in support of Operation Resolute Support. … This flag was presented to Garden City Community College and it's requested that this flag be flown or displayed during all Sept. 11 commemoration ceremonies conducted at GCCC in memory of those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, and those who have sacrificed and continually do on the global war of terrorism,” Woydziak said.
Following the Pledge of Allegiance, members of the Broncbuster Taskforce shot off its cannon.
GCCC’s choir closed the event by singing “America the Beautiful,” and there was also a banner set up for guests to write down the name of someone who lost their life on 9/11 as a way to remember those who were killed.
Nathan Sheridan, pastor of First Assembly of God Church in Garden City, cited a timeline of the events of 9/11 and led a prayer.
“Today, we pause lord, in the midst of a normal schedule and we remember 16 years ago,” Sheridan said in his prayer. “We reflect for those of us who are older, we reflect where we were. For those that are in the audience this morning, it was a very early age that they encountered this.”
Swender opened the observance and read a letter from Gov. Sam Brownback, thanking GCCC for continuing to honor 9/11 victims and heroes.
Swender also quoted George W. Bush in his closing.
“Time is passing, yet for the United States of America there will be no forgetting Sept. 11. We will remember every rescuer who died in our honor. We will remember every family who lives in grief,” Swender said, quoting Bush. “We will remember the fire and ash, the last phone calls and the funerals of the children.”
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