MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesotans will honor the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks this weekend.
Gov. Mark Dayton has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff Sunday in remembrance of the attacks.
Dayton proclaimed Sunday “Patriot Day and A Day of Service and Remembrance” in Minnesota. He asked all Minnesotans to join in a national moment of silence at 7:46 a.m. CDT.
In addition, Dayton has directed the Minnesota Department of Transportation to light the Interstate 35W Bridge red, white and blue in honor of the victims of the 9/11 attacks.
Dayton released the following statement Saturday:
“On the morning of September 11, 2001, my staff and I watched on television from the Russell Senate Office Building in Washington DC, as flames and smoke began to erupt from the first World Trade Tower in New York City, after it was struck by an unidentified aircraft. When another plane crashed into the second World Trade Tower, we realized with horror that they were not accidents.
“After the Capitol Complex was evacuated a few minutes later, I went to the roof of a nearby hotel, where I was living. The clear blue sky was rapidly being filled by a mushroom cloud of thick, black smoke pouring from the Pentagon, which had been struck by the third hijacked plane.
“The eerie silence was suddenly shattered by two F-16 fighter planes streaking down the Mall, past the Washington Monument, and just over the top of the Capitol Building. They were trying to intercept the fourth hijacked plane, which instead was heroically brought down by its passengers, led by Minnesota native Thomas Burnett, Jr. Their unimaginable courage stopped the hijackers from crashing that plane into the U.S. Capitol, which would have murdered even more innocent people.
“Like so many Americans, I will never forget that terrible day 15 years ago. I pray for the victims, their families, and their colleagues. I hope they might find peace, despite their immeasurable losses. I am also thankful for the heroic service of the police, firefighters, and military personnel, who responded immediately at the risk of their own lives. They deserve our immense gratitude for their service and sacrifice on September 11th and in the years following.”
Lt. Gov. Tina Smith also released a statement.
“The September 11 terrorist attacks profoundly affected a generation of Americans. Just like all Americans, I remember where I was and what I was doing, as we stood transfixed in front of the television, trying to process what was happening, and how our lives were changing forever.
“We will never forget the 2,996 innocent Americans who were killed that day, including Minnesotans: Gordon Aamoth Jr., Max Beilke, and Tom Burnett, Jr.
“On this 15th anniversary, we keep these Minnesotans, all those we lost, the first responders lost and injured, and the families who lost loved ones in our thoughts. We honor their memory by continuing to live the values of freedom, pluralism, and democracy for which they died. We continue to show that our democracy is stronger than the terrorists who sought to divide us.”