Sep 11, 2011 5:42 PM by Andy Koen
The Colorado Springs community observed the tenth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks with a solemn and respectful ceremony at America the Beautiful Park Sunday.
Serving as master of ceremonies, former Colorado Governor Bill Ritter called on the audience to remember not the horror of the attacks but the humanity that emerged afterward.
"We should remember everyday that 9-11-2001 as a day when we as a beacon stood out," he said.
General Charles Jacoby, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and US Northern Command was working at the Pentagon that day. He was heading for his command post after the second plane had hit the south tower when he felt the ground shake.
"We emerged into the hallways to the cacophony of sirens and security personnel urging people to hustle out of the building and get to their rally points," Jacoby said.
He described the events as the beginning of a long, tough journey that would, "spur the emergence of the next greatest generation of Americans."
For Widefield High School student Ashley Reed, then just a second grader, the day marked a change for her family. Reed and Holmes Middle School student Tegan Chambon participated in an essay contest and read their works to the audience. In her she described how her father, an active duty soldier, had enlisted when she was three in hopes of finding stable employment in engineering or computer operations.
"Suddenly, his 9 to 5 job became harder, longer and more serious," she said.
Lt. Governor Joe Garcia praised America's committment to its values in defending itself.
"We have always prevailed and we will always prevail," he said. "As long as we are guided, as we are in our war on terror, by a sense of justice and not by a sense of vengeance."
And Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach encouraged the crowd to be resolute in their belief of the American Dream.
"The people of 911 would want us to go forward with resolve, optimism and enthusiasm," Bach said. "Please join me in doing that in their honor."
The ceremony concluded with a flyover by a pair of F-16's from the Colorado Air National Guard at Buckley Air Force Base. The jets soared overhead as the Cheyenne Mountain High School Crimson Chorale lead the gathering in singing America the Beautiful.