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Community honors 12th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks

Posted: September 11, 2013 - 2:00pm  |  Updated: September 12, 2013 - 12:08am
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Members of the military, police and fire departments bow their heads with civilians as Chaplain Sam Dalin reads the invocation during the Sept. 11 Memorial Service at Rotary Park on Wednesday.  Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Michael Penn | Juneau Empire
Members of the military, police and fire departments bow their heads with civilians as Chaplain Sam Dalin reads the invocation during the Sept. 11 Memorial Service at Rotary Park on Wednesday.

The Glacier Valley Rotary Club’s annual 9/11 Memorial ceremony drew a crowd of more than 200 community members, including law enforcement and military past and present, to the flagpole at Riverside Rotary Park Wednesday morning. But with the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 having happened a full 12 years ago, many in the crowd weren’t even born when the Twin Towers fell.

Evelyn and Terry Morrison brought four of their six young children, ages ranging from 4 to 10, to the ceremony. None of the Morrison children were alive when the attacks occurred, but Evelyn said the family owns a picture book that tells the story of Sept. 11. The family homeschools, she said, and the children’s text books explain the events from a historical perspective. This gives the parents a good starting point for explaining the significance of the day.

“On the way here, we talked about where we were and how we felt,” Terry Morrison said. “Every Sept. 11 that goes by, we always think about it.”

The sun was obscured by clouds for most of the ceremony, which included a half-mast flag raising by Juneau Police Department officers at 9:58 a.m., the exact time the first tower fell more than a decade ago. For two minutes, the officers held the flag in silence at the base of the pole, prepared to raise it at the right time.

At precisely 9:58, the clouds parted and the sun illuminated the hushed crowd as the officers raised the flag. Volunteer firefighter Siara Kelly sang the National Anthem, a tradition of hers for about four years, she said.

This year was different, though, she said. Kelly, 20, just graduated from the Capital City Fire and Rescue Fire Academy in May.

“This was my first time singing it in uniform, so it’s more special,” she said.

Kelly is the daughter of Paul and Sandi Kelly, who both work for CCFR. Siara’s sister is the only one in the family not working for the department, but they’re trying to fix that, she said, laughing.

“It’s a family — I’ve been part of it for 11 years,” Siara Kelly said. “I’ve always been a firefighter’s daughter, but now I’m a firefighter.”

• Contact reporter Katie Moritz at 523-2294 or at katherine.moritz@juneauempire.com.

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