The expressions on the faces of Atchison community members, area first responders and veterans were grim for this year’s quiet gathering at Veterans Memorial Park to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

It seems incomprehensible to some that babies born on one of America’s darkest days only recently graduated high school. Some have no doubt joined the U.S. Armed Forces and other areas of public service in honor of the sacrifices made by the nearly 3,000 Americans who died that day and the hundreds more who have since died, or have been permanently disabled, because of the injuries and ailments caused the collapse of the World Trade Center towers and the attack on the Pentagon.

As he has in years past, Police Chief Mike Wilson spoke from the dais at the event as emcee to relate the importance of remembering the destruction that changed the nation forever. Wilson said he can still remember what the way he felt watching the tragedy unfold 18 years ago.

“As we all saw it unfold, it was like my own department was there,” Wilson said. “It doesn’t matter what rural or urban community your from, we all share the same responsibilities to fight what happened on 9/11.”

Riverfront Park in Atchison is home to veteran’s Memorial Plaza, which displays an artifact from the USS Arizona, one of the ships sunk in the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1942. The monument also lists the names of military veterans from the area who were killed in action in theaters of war. It is here each year that the community and its most dedicated public servants, with support from the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 1175 and the American Legion Post No. 6, gather to honor those who have dedicated their lives to the patriotic calling anyone will ever experience, and for many, the greatest cost.

And they will never be forgotten.

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