Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that will be etched into all Americans' lives forever.
During the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on U.S. soil this weekend, many area organizations will be holding memorial services to remember the thousands who lost their lives on that horrific morning when life as we knew it changed forever.
In Jim Thorpe, Carbon County officials gathered in Josiah White Park on Friday to remember the victims of 9/11 and honor men and women who serve in the armed forces and as emergency responders.
Henry Desrosiers, director of the Carbon County Office of Veterans Affairs, welcomed everyone to the service.
"Ten years ago, America was thrust into conflict," he said. "We know Sept. 11, 2001 has forever changed our world. When the buildings fell, heroes rose. We come here today to honor the innocent victims and those who volunteer to keep us safe law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and also the men and women of our armed forces.
"Arlington National Cemetery and other cemeteries throughout our country hold more than 6,000 troops who have died waging the wars of 9/11. The fallen are fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives, sweethearts and buddies and heroes. Their courage, service and sacrifice is a fitting tribute to all those who gave their lives on 9/11."
Gil Henry, chaplain of American Legion Post 304, Jim Thorpe, then provided the invocation. Jeanette Richards sang the "Star Spangled Banner."
Commissioners William O'Gurek, Charles Getz, and Wayne Nothstein then addressed the audience.
O'Gurek pointed out that every generation has one life-changing moment the stock market crash in the 20s, Pearl Harbor in the 40s, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in the 60s, and the explosion of space shuttle Challenger in the 80s. Sept. 11, 2001 was this generation's life-changing moment.
"(Sept. 11) was perhaps the most cruel deliverance on any country, on any generation," O'Gurek said. "As we gather here, we remember the monumental expenses our people paid because of the shamelessness of the terrorists. Certainly, nothing will ever be the same. There are no silver linings in the loss of lives."
Getz spoke about the injuries, both physical and emotional, that thousands of Americans suffered that day.
"When I think about how our lives changed that day, I think it gives us reason to be downright mad," he said. "Families have been shattered, loved ones left behind, and families separated and suffering. I call upon you to pray for the families, friends and loved ones of the innocent victims of Sept. 11, 2001."
Nothstein told the story of one survivor, Lauren Manning, who was burned over 82 percent of her body on 9/11. She fought to live for her son, and has been traveling the long road to recovery ever since.
He thanked the military personnel, emergency responders, volunteers and veterans who have made the sacrifice and serve this country courageously.
The ceremony ended as Richards sang "God Bless America," and TAPS was played.