BEAUFORT, S.C. (WSAV) — Freedom isn’t always free. 20 years ago today, that freedom was compromised.
“20 years ago we watched as first responders ran, not walked, outward our people in need. All while knowing they may not go home to their families, 412 of them did not,” said Mayor of Beaufort Stephen Murray.
On Saturday, hundreds gathered at Henry C. Chambers waterfront park to pay tribute to the 2,977 American lives lost, and the heroes who honored and saved the lives of so many.
“Seeing as this is the 20th year we really wanted to do something because this is a legacy, this is bringing the community together so we don’t forget, we will never forget,” said Andrea Hackenberger, Downtown Manager & Events coordinator for the city of Beaufort. “We just wanted to come together especially in a time of need, for the remembrance.”
Some 2,990 luminarias were lit and placed around the park in remembrance of the 2,977 Americans lost twenty years ago, and the 13 soldiers killed in the recent Kabul airport attack.
Col. Timothy Dremann, Chief of Staff of Parris Island’s Marine Corps recruit Depot spoke to the crowd about sacrifice, brotherhood, and what that dreaded day in our nation’s history means to him.
“The legacy of 9/11 is what we as Americans choose to make it, it’s what we decide it will be,” Col. Dremann explained. “It can be a day of horror and terror that we choose to turn our back on and not teach our children about, and in our own peril ignore the fact that evil exists in the world, or it can be a day that not only reminds us, but a day that inspires us to act upon the greatness that is the character of Americans, and our unlimited capacity for courage, and selflessness and love.”
The resiliency displayed by our country on that day is something to be proud of, and something Col. Dremann uses as an opportunity to look at how people came together in the days, months and years following.
“So, the choice for us as a nation was, do we succumb to terror and horror, or do we rise to act and emulate those that were the best of us as Americans on that day,” he said.