By Bill Hudson

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A decade doesn’t erase the haunting images still lingering in one’s mind.

What, for many commuters, had long been a river crossing that became second nature.

That was until Aug. 1, 2007, when the Interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis suddenly and so violently came crashing down into the waters below.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 13 lives that were lost, along with 145 more people who were injured, rescuers came back to the riverfront on Tuesday to pay their respects.

“It was unlike anything we’ve ever seen before and unlike anything we’ll ever experience again, anytime in the near future,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said.

After a brief ceremony on land a contingent of deputies and police, firefighters and paramedics, Army Corp Engineers and Navy divers boarded boats for a short hop up river.

They were there on a rainy day to remember and reflect.

“We were proud to be Minnesotans observing the courage of the responders and ordinary citizens who answered the call when this tragic event demanded it,” U.S. Navy Rear Admiral Fritz Roegge said.

Positioned directly underneath the new 35W bridge, the first responders soon placed a wreath of white lilies and carnations into the water, in memory of those who died.

“Your efforts surely saved countless lives and helped the community here return to a sense of normalcy much more quickly than it otherwise would have been able to do,” said Army Corp of Engineers Colonel Sam Calkins.

Gently floating downstream like the memories that live on in the minds of many. It was an unthinkable calamity, calmed in part by the selfless sacrifices of so many in our time of need.

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