As the United States remembers the victims of the attacks on September 11, 2001, the Carolinas are also honoring those who died in 9/11 attacks 21 years ago.
At Romare Bearden Park in uptown Charlotte, volunteers with the Firefighter Steven Coakley Foundation laid out 2,977 flags Friday in the shape of the twin towers. Each flag had a photo of a victim in the attacks attached to it.
Organizers were thankful for the people who took the time to remember those lost.
“The community support has been unbelievable,” Ahmed Halawi said. “Somebody has had an impact. Someway, somehow, and all of these folks come out here to honor those who lost their lives and can share their story year in and year out, and continuously remember those fallen on that day.”
There was be a special ceremony at the park Sunday morning. Bells tolled at the times the planes hit the towers on 9/11.
Across the state of North Carolina, flags were at half-staff. They had already been lowered for the death of Queen Elizabeth II, but the state issued a proclamation recognizing 21 years since 9/11.
“As we continue to honor the life of Queen Elizabeth II, we also pause this weekend to pay tribute to Patriot Day, also known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance,” Secretary Pamela B. Cashwell said in a news release. “Sunday marks the 21st anniversary of 9/11. Gone but never forgotten, this day honors the victims of the terrorist attack, their families and the heroic sacrifices of first responders. Please join us as we remember the innocent lives lost during one of the most deadly attacks on U.S. soil.”
Gov. Roy Cooper also released a statement, saying, “Today, we mourn the lives lost on September 11, 2001 and honor the brave men and women who made sacrifices to help. We owe a deep debt of gratitude to these heroes, as their lessons of bravery, strength and service remain strong today.”
In Concord on Saturday, the Charlotte Motor Speedway hosted a group of veterans and first responders for a 110-story stair climb through the stands. The event paid tribute to those lost on 9/11 and also raised money for and awareness of Tunnel to Towers, an organization that helps veterans and first responders impacted by the attacks.
In South Carolina, a retired firefighter who moved to the state the year before the attacks has made it his mission to make sure people remember the sacrifices of that day. Richard Hulse said he watched on television as fellow emergency workers and even some close friends died in the twin towers.
“It was just terrible. I just can’t describe it when I found out his name was on the list,” Hulse said. “I knew once they got up there, they were going to lose contact, radio-wise, which they did and they weren’t gonna be able to get out. And it was just terrible to watch.”
(WATCH BELOW: 9/11: What you might not know about the terror attacks)
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