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South Dakota remembers 9/11 on this difficult anniversary

Published: Sep. 12, 2021 at 12:59 AM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - It’s been 20 years since the United States was attacked by terrorists who targeted the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon, and 20 years since the bravery of the passengers on United Flight 93.

Events took place all across the Black Hills today in commemoration of the attacks.

Landmark Community Church in Rapid City held an event called “Never Forget” which was to remember the men, women, children and first responders who lost their lives in the events of 9/11, and also to honor the military service members who died fighting in the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan after the tragedy took place.

Retired US Airforce Major Edward Manzano says there have been 14 military members who have died fighting the war on terror from the Black hills.

Major Manzano shared heroic military stories throughout the ceremony with attendees, and he says everyone, including himself, can remember where they were that day.

He says the attack inspired many to join the military, because of what he called a “slaughter.”

He encourages those that are too young to remember September 11th to seek out stories from their parents and grandparents for perspectives concerning what happened 20 years ago.

He says that all military branches feel the matter was personal. ”There’s always a close knit bond when you have retired military coming together from all of the branches. Each one of us had our specific missions, but we were all united in supporting our constitution and defending it against our enemies. Even being retired, some of us still enjoy wearing our uniforms days, such as today. It’s just a reminder that our freedom is not free. It’s been paid for with a price.”

The 14 service members from the Black Hills who have died fighting the war on terror were written on balloons tied around the wrists of children.

At the ceremonies conclusion, he balloon strings were cut and they were released into the sky in what Major Manzano calls a final attempt to ensure those names are never forgotten.

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