9/11 honored Sunday in Lincoln

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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Two ceremonies Sunday in Lincoln commemorated the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. 9/11 is the unprecedented terrorist attack in the United States by al-Qaida in which 3,000 victims were killed on Sept. 11, 2001. Sunday’s ceremonies were at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., according to Noreen Skillman, who helped organize the events. Skillman said the 10 a.m. ceremony attracted a crowd of 30. The News Messenger counted a crowd of 40 for the 2 p.m. ceremony. Six on-duty Lincoln firefighters showed up for both ceremonies, according to Skillman. Lincoln Police Officer Pete French was present for awhile but responded to a call for service since he was on duty. Also attending were Lincoln City Councilmen Gabriel Hydrick and Stan Nader. Skillman is Nader’s chief of staff. Skillman said there was a moment of silence at the 10 a.m. ceremony, “as requested by Congress,” followed by the ringing of a handbell. She said the firefighters also blew the fire truck horns and sirens. “When the firefighters showed up on Sunday morning, people were in tears that they were there,” Skillman said. “The police officer who showed up in the afternoon, that was unexpected, and that the firefighters showed up again was unexpected.” Skillman said the planning of the event happened because of another resident. “Patricia Branham started it. She had e-mailed me with the concern that the city was doing nothing to recognize 9/11 at all,” Skillman said. “It was cool how it turned out. We had less than 72 hours to plan.” A letter written by Branham was read by resident Chris Schaaf during Tuesday’s City Council meeting, expressing disappointment that the city had not planned an event recognizing 9/11. Branham wrote that, “As a resident I was surprised the city of Lincoln had not planned a 9/11 ceremony.” She wrote that the city plans events including the Fourth of July fireworks and parade, and Christmas parade. “The city does not do events. The Fourth of July (festivities) are put together by citizens and the Christmas parade is not city organized,” Mayor Paul Joiner said, in response to Branham’s letter. “What we have done to be involved is offer to facilitate in any way we could. We would have been happy to facilitate an event.” Joiner said he was not approached about the event. A handful of residents spoke during Sunday’s afternoon ceremony, including Skillman, Branham and Mary Nader. Branham read a letter written by a 9/11 survivor and Vern Nakasone provided the ceremony’s invocation. Skillman said it was important that 9/11 was recognized in Lincoln. “It should be important to everybody to not forget what happened. That day 10 years ago changed so many people’s lives,” Skillman said. “It’s important that we do not forget, like we don’t forget Veterans Day, Pearl Harbor Day. Those are moments in history that are a reflection of our history.” Lincoln Firefighter Corey Leighty spoke with The News Messenger about what the day’s events meant to him. “It brings back memories of what we were doing and what the guys in New York were going through,” Leighty said. He was asked what it meant to the firefighters to be recognized during both ceremonies. “We don’t go into this job for recognition,” Leighty said. “We go into it to help people.”