By Devan Strebing firstname.lastname@example.org
---- — INDIANAPOLIS — Indianapolis International Airport held the 12th 9/11 anniversary observance at the Civic Plaza around 8:46 a.m. Tuesday.
The service was to commemorate the exact time the first plane, Flight 11, struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center, crashing at roughly 466 mph between floors 93 and 99.
“I am very proud to be a part of this,” Indianapolis Airport Fire Chief Rick Gentry said. “I think now, we as a country are more aware of thinking bad things could happen, but I think us doing ceremonies like this helps reminds the kids growing up now to not forget that day.”
In addition to Gentry, the airport fire/police/TSA honor guard, IAA executives, IAA Police Chief Bill Reardon, a trio of firefighters singing the National Anthem, and IND emergency responders who deployed to Ground Zero to assist in recovery operations, were at the observance.
“It’s good to let some of my younger officers stand on the sidelines here at the ceremony,” Gentry said. “The first couple of years it was just the chiefs doing this. But always in some fashion even at the old terminal, we have done some display of the steel artifact from the World Trade Center.”
The steel artifact is about 12x12x6-inches and weighs about 40 pounds. It is of a section of the World Trade Center steel recovered from Ground Zero.
The artifact was presented to the Indianapolis International Airport (IND) fire department by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to honor local public safety responders, including airport employees who deployed to the attack sites.
“It’s very important we get to bring out our artifact for the entire day,” Gentry said. “That is a piece from the World Trade Center that four of our responders from the airport as part of Indiana Task Force 1 were honored with. Their names are on there, two of them have retired and two still work here.”
It has now been returned to its permanent display site at the airport’s Fire Station 1.
“It means a lot when we see so much emotion when people look at it, that’s why we want it out here,” Gentry said.