Remembering 9/11: Special ceremony held at Milwaukee War Memorial Center

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MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele, Governor Scott Walker, British Ambassador Sir Peter Westmacott and other local leaders honored the victims of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001 with a special ceremony at the Milwaukee War Memorial Center on Thursday, September 11th.

"There's been no single event that has changed our collective lives more than the events that took place 13 years ago right now," Mayor Barrett said.

Local and state leaders, veterans and active duty military members as well as community members gathered together as one.

"It was so good to see all the different political parties and people from all walks of life coming here. I think that was the best. That was so good," Janis Hancock said.

"We mourn the lives of the firefighters who rushed in to help, even while citizens were rushing out to safety," Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele said.

Wreaths were placed in the reflecting pool at the War Memorial’s Veterans Plaza, as speakers remembered the lives lost and the Milwaukee High School of the Arts Vocal Jazz Ensemble performed “God Bless America.”

"We thank those men and women here, across the country and around the world who continue to make that sacrifice on a daily basis. And, so to all of you who are here representing law enforcement and fire service and our first responders, thank you.  We will never forget," Governor Walker Said.

In the center of the ceremony sat a steel beam that was part of the World Trade Center towers.

"Drove there, drove back, and brought it here so that we can always remember it, always remember it, honor it and never forget the freedom that we have to fight for," Vietnam veteran Joe Campbell said.

After the program everyone was invited to ring the bell of the USS Milwaukee in memory of the victims.

A group of police and city leaders from around the Midwest, including Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges were also in attendance.

Governor Scott Walker issued this statement Thursday -- recognizing the 9/11 anniversary:

Governor Scott Walker today honors those who lost their lives and their loved ones on September 11, 2001, and during the events that followed.  

“Today we remember all of the victims killed and injured in the attacks of 9/11, and recognize the loss that changed the lives of their loved ones,” Governor Walker said.  “America was brought together as one Nation in the subsequent days, weeks, and months following that day.  The American people responded with an amazing display of bravery, resilience, and patriotism.  Today, we honor the law enforcement officers, first responders, and ordinary citizens who selflessly and heroically risked their lives in order to aid victims of the attacks.  We also honor the servicemen and women who paid the ultimate price for our freedom and protection, as well as all of the troops who have served.” 

Governor Walker issued an Executive Order to fly the United States and Wisconsin flags at half-staff beginning at sunrise on Thursday, September 11, 2014, and ending at sunset.  A copy of Governor Walker’s Executive Order is attached. 

Governor Walker delivered remarks at the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at the Milwaukee County War Memorial today, and also made stops at the 128th Air Refueling Wing in Milwaukee, and the 115th Fighter Wing in Madison to thank members of the Wisconsin Air National Guard for their service.