East Tennessee families remember September 11 victims

Families of 9-11 victims share their memories.


(WBIR-DOWNTOWN KNOXVILLE)  This Sunday America will mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks and Knoxville will also recognize the tragic event on the lawn of the City County building.

Three people with East Tennessee ties will be recognized at a  ceremony at 8:40 Sunday morning.

Kate Lenoir  has a ritual on her way to work at the City County building.

"I do go over every morning and find his name before I come to work," she said of the memorial on the lawn.

The name she searches for is John Robinson Lenoir, her brother, who died in the World Trade Center attacks 15 years ago. He is one of three victims with East Tennessee ties named on the Knox County 9/11 Commemorative Memorial.

"It gives me a place that I can come and I don't know if you can say find peace but at least I know there's something of him here. A name," Brenda Vandever said.

The name she looks for is her brother's, Tony Karnes.

Fifteen years has not healed the hurt.

"He knew he was going to die with no family. It breaks my heart and it's still really sad," Brenda said.

Bruce Haviland misses his brother's voice on the phone.

His name is Timothy Haviland.

Bruce knows what he will do this Sunday, the same thing he does every September 11th.

"I come down to the memorial and lay a rose for each family member and write a short note to Tim I call my mother," he said.

Randy Vaden will also come to the City-County building Sunday. He is the artist who created the memorial in seven months with a hard deadline: September 11, 2003.

"We had the stone cut and polished in India and shipped here and there's 34,000 characters laser etched into it so it was a lot to get done," Randy said.

He embraces an idea the families have suggested: adding a third bench to the memorial.

Brenda said, "We need a bench for each person and we will be engraving their names somewhere on the seat, one for each victim. I think that would be very appropriate."

It's another way to remember their loss.

Kate said, "It's been hard but we're at peace. We're at peace with it."

Bruce said, "I would just like people to never forget that day."

And not forget their is a memorial for them and the more than 3,000 who died right here on the lawn of the City County building.

"What most people don't know is it has 3,019 wind chimes inside it so on a quiet day with a little wind. Come up and hear the chimes. They'll sound like church bells on a distant hillside," Randy said.

Tony Karns' sister Brenda lives in Farragut and there is a tree at the library there planted in his honor with a marker with his name on it.

The memorial service at the City County Building is set for 8:40 Sunday morning. it will begin with a moment of silence.

The names of three 9/11 victims with East Tennessee ties will be read. The local first responders who went to New York City to help after the attacks will also be recognized.

 


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