CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia officials are among those remembering those lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Around 3,000 people died in the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a second planned attack in the nation’s capital. The final attack was foiled by the passengers aboard United Flight 93. The plane crashed into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
State Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety Secretary Jeff Sandy said he remembers where he was when he heard of the attacks; he was working as a special agent for the U.S. Department of Treasury at the time.
“We heard it on the radio and went back to the office,” he said. “After the plane crash in Pennsylvania, every special agent in my office was ordered to go to a facility in the eastern part of the United States. For 30 days, we provided security at that facility.
“At that point, you just didn’t know all that was going to occur.”
Sandy said there have been strives regarding security, including a triage center and fusion centers across the country designed to gather intelligence.
“When the Afghanistan war and the Iraq war started, the information that we learned from that (triage) center was utilized to make sure that we interviewed and obtained the information that we could obtain to make our country safer,” he said.
U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., released separate statements recognizing the anniversary.
“Today we come together to reflect on that horrific day and remember the lives we lost. It is also important to remember the American spirit that prevailed in the face of such tragedy. American’s came together to show the world that we will not be broken, we are resilient and courageous. On this 17th anniversary, I remind all West Virginians to recommit themselves to service. Service to our country, our community, our neighbors and our families,” Manchin said.
“Despite the sadness and devastation caused by the attacks, it was an event that united Americans across the country more than ever. West Virginians know that kind of unity well, which is why I’m so proud to call our state and this country home,” Capito said. “I encourage all West Virginians to take a moment today to pray for the victims, their families, and all those who faced unfathomable loss in the wake of the September 11th attacks, but at the same time, remember that even in our darkest hour, our American spirit—our West Virginia spirit—will always comfort us, sustain us, and inspire us to unite as one.”
Gov. Jim Justice said it is important to also recognize first responders, who he described as “the real superstars.”
“Just think about the real courage it takes to run to the fire or an accident and not away from it. We love you all very much and thank you for being there for us in our most dire times of need,” he added.
Flags were at half-staff at all state-owned facilities Tuesday to honor those who died in the attacks.