Reporting Holly Wagner
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – This Sunday, one of the largest Sept. 11 anniversary ceremonies in the Twin Cities will be at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis.
For the past 9 years, local residents have been able to take part in a memorial concert at the bandshell.
This year will be particularly moving for Bob Bayers, who has spent the last decade giving others a chance to remember and reflect.
“Hearing those first reports of a small plane crashing and then starting to realize the magnitude, and watching live on TV as that second plane crashed into the tower,” said Bayers. “The country was in a whole new world. It would never be the same. … This is my generation’s Pearl Harbor.”
Every year since the 9/11 attacks, he’s brought hundreds of people together at Lake Harriet with music and patriotism. What started as a small orchestra concert, has grown into something much bigger.
“We couldn’t put another person on a the stage if we tried, we’d need a shoe horn,” he said.
Bayers has spent hundreds of hours organizing the event over the years on top of running the neighborhood hardware store two blocks from the bandshell.
“I’m very proud of what I’ve done in 10 years,” he said.
Bayers doesn’t have any direct connection with the victims of 9/11. He says it’s his American spirit that inspired what’s been a labor of love for him.
“I enjoy sharing my love of country, something my father taught me.”
Sunday’s memorial concert will be Bob’s last. He’s hoping his neighbors got as much out it as he has.
“I believe the music gives us the opportunity to come together and remember what happened on 9/11, and that’s why I’m proud we will never forget.”
Bayers says he’s getting older and has a grandchild on the way, and so he will not have as much time to put the event together.
It’s unclear if the event will continue without Bayers being there to help, but he’s hoping people from the community will step in.