Metro area marks 9/11 with ceremonies, community service

Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Across the country, people pause to remember and honor those lost when our nation came under attack September 11, 2001. The many moments of silence were deafening, filled with a nation's heartache.

"This was definitely a day that many, many hearts were broken," said St. Amant Fire Chief James LeBlanc.

In Prairieville, the St. George Fire Department held a prayer service for first responders. The service was personal for Dennis O'Connell. The retired New York Police officer was among those running into the twin towers 16 years ago.

"I lost 14 very \close friends on that day. To know that people still remember, that keeps what they dedicated their lives to, it keeps them alive," said O'Connell.

Down the road in Gonzales fire fighters, deputies and police officers from half a dozen agencies gathered for a ceremony they've held every year since 2001.

"That day alone, the fire fighters that they lost in New York is more fire fighters than we have in the whole entire parish of Ascension," said LeBlanc. "To think that you can lose 343 fire fighters in one day and still be able to function, still be able to operate, still be able to serve your community is just unreal and they did it."

However, in that loss, many find inspiration to help others. Whether it's the first responders dedicated to saving lives, or civilians honoring the 9/11 anniversary with a day of service.

Members of the Gonzales area AARP Chapter 1449 participated in a national day of service, collecting food items for the St. Theresa Food Bank.

"It's of course in remembrance of what occurred on 9/11 one, and two AARP chose a way to give back to the community with a day of service," said chapter president Alfred Mason.

Each act ensures this day is always remembered.

"2,996 people lost their lives that day," said LeBlanc. "We don't anybody to ever think we would forget that."

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