Tri-Cities community takes a moment of remembrance on 9/11

Changing of the honor guard ceremony in front of the Kennewick 9/11 Memorial at the Southridge Sports Complex. (Sept. 11, 2017/Maecy Enger)

16 years ago on Monday, America experienced an event that changed the nation, the September 11 attacks.

To observe the solemn anniversary, both the Tri-Cities community and local first responders came out to the memorial at the Southridge Sports Complex. Even several classes of Kennewick students walked across the field to come observe the memorial.

Those from the community, like Amy Simington-Pearce from Kennewick, who came out to the memorial said it was a day they would never forget.

“I got a phone call to check the TV and I did, and I sat with the rest of the world and watch in horror the next several hours as it unfolded,” says Simington-Pearce.

“We were in shock, we didn’t what was going on, we didn’t know what to do, we didn’t even realize at that moment that what was going on at the Pentagon, Flight 93, we had no idea of all the events that were occurring, but we did know it was tragic and it was going to change our lives forever,” says Kennewick Fire Chief Vince Beasley.

There’s now a generation who was not born during the attacks but several parents like Tiffany Donigan from Pasco brought out her kids, 7, 5, and 2-years-old. She says although it is hard for them to grasp what exactly happened, she believes it is important they see the good that came from the tragedy.

“We try to just focus on all of the good people that sacrifice their lives and went in to rescue other people, so they can always remember that there are always good people in this world,” says Donigan.

Chief Beasley says fire responders and the honor guard were out at the memorial from 6:30 in the morning on Monday until 6:30 p.m. During that time, they also held a moment of silence at both 6:59 a.m. and 7:28 a.m., the times when the two towers fell. Each half-hour a bell would toll to remember one of the 343 firefighters, 60 police officers and 8 paramedics who lost their lives on the tragic day in 2001.

Beasley says the ceremony is a scaled down version of what the City of Kennewick used to hold each year. The city announced a few weeks ago it would not hold a ceremony at the memorial for the first time since its unveiling on the 10th anniversary of the attacks. Beasley says it is in an effort to plan for the 20th anniversary, on which they hope to have a large memorial ceremony.