City commemorates 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks

Twenty years after the terrorist attacks against the United States, Lexington will commemorate those who lost their lives and the heroes who rescued survivors.

On September 11, 2001, the nation was attacked by four planes hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists. Two planes flew into the World Trade Center buildings in New York City, one plane crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington County, VA, and another, where passengers fought back against hijackers, force crashed in an empty field in Shanksville, PA. Nearly 3,000 individuals died as a result of the attacks.

“Most everyone can remember what they were doing at the time the first two planes crashed into the World Trade Center,” said Mayor Linda Gorton. “The September 11 attacks will forever be a part of our lives … the day changed our nation in so many ways. Personally, my son, at that time a member of the Army Old Guard at Arlington National Cemetery, was dispatched to be part of the search and rescue team at the Pentagon. So many of us have stories of how we were affected by the events of that day. It is important that we continue to remember those we lost that day and those public safety heroes who came to the rescue of so many.”

There are several ways the community can be involved in commemorating the 20th anniversary of the attacks. At 7 p.m. on Thursday, September 9, members of the Lexington Fire Department, Lexington Police Department, regional firefighters and police officers, and members of the public can participate in a stair climb at Kroger Field, 1540 University Drive. Participants will climb the equivalent of 110 flights of stairs to honor and remember the 403 firefighters and police officers who died on September 11, 2001.

At 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 11, the Lexington Fire and Police Honor Guards will participate in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Fallen Firefighters and Peace Officers Memorials in Phoenix Park, 100 East Main Street. The public is invited to attend.

Also on Saturday, September 11, four downtown churches will toll their bells in remembrance of the attacks in New York City, Arlington County, and Shanksville. Christ Church Cathedral, Central Christian Church, Calvary Baptist Church, and the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd will participate. Any other churches or members of the public are encouraged to participate as well. Bells will toll at the following times for one minute each time. A moment of silence is requested for each of these times.

  • 8:46 a.m. in commemoration of the targeted crashes of American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 into the World Trade Center buildings
  • 9:37 a.m. in commemoration of the targeted crash of American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon
  • 10:03 a.m. in commemoration of the forced crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Shanksville


Downtown facilities will be lit blue, in recognition of the blue light used in the national 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s Tribute in Light. Participating locations include the Helix Parking Garage, City Center, downtown footbridges, and the Oliver Lewis Way Bridge. It is encouraged for any facility or home to shine a blue light on September 11 in remembrance of those lost 20 years ago.

In addition, flags will be flown at half-staff on September 11.

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