KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Eighteen years have passed since the terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans and continue to take a toll on the heroes who answered the call at Ground Zero all those years ago.
Across East Tennessee, events are planned in remembrance of those who were lost and the first responders who made the ultimate sacrifice to save lives that day.
The City of Knoxville and Knox County will host a ceremony at the 9/11 Memorial on the lawn of the City County Building at 400 Main Street. The bells of First Baptist Church will toll at 8:46 a.m. to mark the time hijackers crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center, and again at 9:03 a.m. for the crash into the second tower. Knoxville Police Department Chaplain Pam Neal will say a prayer, then retired Captain Mike Freels of the Knox County Sheriff's Office will perform "Taps."
At 8:30 a.m. at World's Fair Park, the fifth annual Knoxville 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb will be held at the Sunsphere. 343 first responders including firefighters, EMS, police, military and other volunteers from across East Tennessee will climb the equivalent of 110 stories, many in full gear, in remembrance of the 343 New York City firefighters who died at the Twin Towers. Anyone can participate as well in the walkathon version with a donation. Proceeds raised at the climb will go to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
In Oneida, a man will hit the streets of his hometown to honor the victims of Sept. 11. Trinity Smith is making another 50 mile run this year along Alberta Street, this time in full fireman gear. The run starts at 7:30 a.m. and he expects to finish around 8:30 p.m. On the final mile, he will be escorted by other first responders.
Visitors of the Museum of East Tennessee History will have an opportunity to view special items associated with the "Freedom Engine." That was a tribute gift from East Tennesseans to New York City following the events of Sept. 11. East Tennesseans raised more than $940,000 to purchase and equip a ladder truck. The FDNY retires trucks after about 10 years, so the freedom engine retired in 2013. Several artifacts from it were returned to East Tennessee and are on display now until October 13. For more information, click here.
The Young Americans For Freedom Foundation chapter at the University of Tennessee will put together a non-partisan display of 2,997 American flags beside the amphitheater along the pedestrian walkway on UT's campus to create a memorial for those lives lost.
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