Reflecting on the significance of the day, Dr. Amanda Lee woke up Friday morning and realized her teenage daughter only knew about the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, through her history book.
For those who were alive when it happened, the Cape Fear Community College president told a crowd Friday morning, sharing their own memories of that day was crucial to ensuring that future generations never forget.
“Many of you know exactly what you were doing 14 years ago today,” Lee said during CFCC’s annual 9/11 ceremony at the college’s north campus in Castle Hayne. “We have a responsibility to talk about that day and what we have learned from it.”
It’s a day that has been etched on America’s timeline, but Tom Robinson, a battalion chief and instructor in CFCC’s Emergency Training School, said it still affects many of the victims and first responders who were at the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.
Reading a letter from Patrick Foye, executive director of the Ports Authority of New York and New Jersey, Robinson said more than 70,000 people had enrolled in the Centers for Disease Control’s World Trade Center Health Program. Of those, the majority are firefighters and EMS, who have had to find support for a number of healthcare issues, including cancer, related to 9/11.
In order to honor those who have fallen–and those who continue to fight–CFCC students designed and built a monument at the north campus in 2011. The monument includes two towers dotted with holes, each hole representing a person who perished in the attacks. At night, the holes are illuminated to shine through.
“This was chosen specifically and intentionally for this spot. It’s a spot you can visit any time,” Lee said. “This is your memorial and I hope you treat it as such.”
The memorial includes a steel beam retrieved from the wreckage at Ground Zero.
During Friday’s ceremony, Lee and other CFCC officials unveiled a plaque explaining the significance of the monument.
“Never forgotten, these monuments stand tall, not as a testament of tragedy but as one of liberty and strength,” the last line of the plaque reads.
The ceremony also included a silent processional by first responders enrolled at CFCC. Student Anna Emery performed the National Anthem and Hope Cusick read her poem, “Twinned Towers.” Major Andy Simpson delivered “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipe.
Hilary Snow is a reporter at Port City Daily. Reach her at email@example.com.