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Utahns pause to reflect on 10th anniversary of 9/11 attacks; Observances a mix of solemnity and resolve

Published: Sunday, Sept. 11 2011 2:02 p.m. MDT

Taylorsville Police Department, city officials and Unified Fire recognize the 10th anniversary of the attacks on 9/11 by sounding the sirens and lights of police and fire vehicles for a full minute in Taylorsville on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011.

Mike Terry, Deseret News

TAYLORSVILLE - As police and fire sirens blared for a full minute, Kellie Jettie's memories of 9/11 came rushing back.

Her sister, a flight attendant, was working that morning. "And we didn't know where she was," Jettie said.

Jettie was working for the Salt Lake Organizing Committee. As the day wore on, she would learn that 20 of her boss' friends had died in the terrorist attacks, which killed nearly 3,000 people.

Some members of her own family had made the long walk out of Manhattan after authorities ordered tunnels and bridges to the borough closed to non-emergency traffic following the attacks. 

"It's special day for us," Jettie said, explaining why she, her husband, Justin, and their children, Burgen and Easton, stopped by Taylorsville City to take part in the nationwide 9/11 observance "Stop and Remember."

Commencing at 11 a.m. MST, emergency sirens blared and church bells chimed in unison to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The blast of siren and bells was followed by moment of silence. In July, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution to establish the event and to encourage participation. 

The Taylorsville City Council voted last week to take part in the observance, said Mayor Russ Wall. The council wanted set aside time for an observance that demonstrates that that nation remains united against those who threaten its freedoms.

"It is important for us to remember we still have men and women out there protecting our freedoms," he said.

As the police and fire sirens fell hush, Wall said he reflected on his own experiences on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.

Wall said it was initially believed was that a small commuter plane had crashed into one of twin towers at the World Trade Center. "I was thinking about watching TV and seeing the second plane hit. It really hit me what was happening," Wall said.

There were other 9/11 observances along the Wasatch Front Sunday morning, including an honor guard procession at Magna Veterans Memorial Park, which included a flag raising and gun salute.

In Provo, Brigham Young University Army and Air Force ROTC cadets guarded the American flag on campus for 24 consecutive hours as a tribute to the nation. The event started at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

"I think it is important to remember back when 9/11 happened that there was a movement of national unity," said Capt. Richard Hart, recruiting flight commander of Detachment 855, of the observance.

"But 10 years later, it seems that unity of the nation has been forgotten, this flag vigil is an important reminder to people what we are fighting for."

E-mail: marjorie@desnews.com

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