Memorials were held across the city Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Almost 3,000 people lost their lives that day in New York City, Washington, D.C. and near Shanksville, Pa.
On Saturday morning, political leaders, first responders and community members gathered at the Louisville Fire Department headquarters to commemorate the day, as they do annually.
The flag was lowered to half-mast and a moment of silence was held at the time the second tower fell.
A piece of the World Trade Center was brought to sit in front of the building before being transported to the Cathedral of the Assumption, where the names of Louisville first responders who have died in the line of duty were read.
Louisville Greg Fischer, U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, Gov. Andy Beshear and Belize Ambassador-at-large Attallah Shabazz were all in attendance at the fire department.
During his speech, Beshear spoke about a former classmate, Ted Adderley, who died at the World Trade Center. He reflected on all the life moments Adderley would never be able to experience.
“He didn’t have a wedding day like I did. Wasn’t blessed with birth, the miracles of two children, which I have. A career. Those happy moments. 20 years that would have been full for him and his family,” said Beshear.
Beshear also spoke about COVID-19 and honoring first responders by taking the pandemic seriously— sentiments that Fischer echoed in his speech. He mentioned the recent COVID-19 death of an employee of Metro Corrections.
“These are preventable deaths,” said Fischer. “ It means we must honor the loss and protect our citizens by getting the vaccine if you have not done so.”
Fischer also spoke about the ways in which the city came together following 9/11 to offer support, particularly to those in New York.
“That meant Louisville firefighters heading to Ground Zero to help with the aftermath. It meant volunteers from the Kentucky Baptist Convention loading up a kitchen wagon destined for New York,” said Fischer.
Events commemorating the day ran throughout the rest of Saturday.
Louisville Free Public Library is one of the many places the images were sent to display and archive. The images are hung along a chain-link fence in the library at 301 York Street. They vary from pictures of first responders to images at ground zero, where the World Trade Center towers collapsed.
The photo collection started as a single image in a SoHo storefront. It grew to include hundreds of photos of the World Trade Center before and after 9/11.
“Anybody and everybody from a fireman to a street worker, to a lawyer, a doctor, school teacher, a schoolchild could come and place their stone at this memorial which is what it became, a living memorial,” said Charles Traub, a Louisville native and co-creator of the project.
Traub spoke at a panel Thursday night at the library to coincide with the opening of the exhibition. Louisville journalist Melissa Swan moderated the panel.
He was joined by Elizabeth Kramer, who worked at the World Trade Center and was outside when the second plane hit. She described how loud the sound was, the debris flying everywhere and the quiet that followed as people tried to take in the surreal event. Those around her rushed to get disposable cameras to capture images of what felt more like a movie scene than real-life.
“And people were just acting like something like it was another TV set in New York,” said Kramer.
Some of the photos that Kramer saw people taking could be one of the 500 that event became a part of the exhibition.
“here is new york: the September 11 photographs” is one of the many exhibits in the Louisville Photo Biennial; it will be on display at the main branch of the library through November 14.