Tuesday marked 17 years since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, changed the course of history. But even with the distance of years separating Tuesday from the attacks, it was clear strong emotions were still evoked among the public safety officials, military service members, veterans and civilians attending the Laramie Fire Department’s annual ceremony that morning on the corner of Ivinson Avenue and Fourth Street.
One of those who was moved by the ceremony was Marine Corps veteran and Laramie resident Marvin Teigen. No matter how many years pass, Teigen said his memories of the terrorist attacks in 2001 will always affect him.
“I don’t think I’ll change as far as the way I feel about it today,” he said after the ceremony.
Teigen sat with veterans from different branches of the military from the Eppson Center for Seniors who had a front row seat for the Laramie Fire Department Honor Guard flag ceremony. That morning, Teigen came to the ceremony to take a picture of the flag flying high above the street from a fire truck ladder and meet his daughter. But when he was invited to sit with the Eppson Center seniors, Teigen decided he would accept the honor of joining his fellow veterans.
“I came down here this morning just to kind of watch,” he said. “Then I got involved in all this, and I got kind of emotional.”
The Vietnam veteran was an instructor at WyoTech on Sept. 11, 2001, Teigen said. He was instructing a class in the shop when the news reached the class.
“It just seemed like everything came to a stop,” Teigen said. “I remember the silence that came over.”
Before the flag ceremony, Laramie Fire Chief Dan Johnson addressed the crowd, explaining Tuesday’s ceremony was about honoring the fallen and holding up the nation’s heroes.
“It’s fitting that Americans across the nation join together to honor the memory of those who lost their lives 17 years ago, and to mark Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance,” Johnson said. “It is a time to honor those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of that day, which include firefighters, law enforcement officials and civilians in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. We are also here to remember and honor numerous soldiers who have given their all defending this nation since that tragic day.”
But whatever the enormity of loss that’s touched the lives of people across the world in September 2001 and since, Johnson said the day would not be forgotten.
“God bless America and those who gave their all protecting her on that day and the days since,” he said. “We will not forget this day.”
Silence fell over the city street intersection as the Honor Guard performed the ceremony of raising the U.S. flag to its peak for an instant, then bringing it back down to half-staff. As the guard walked slowly back to the fire station, it was followed by “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes in a somber and powerful display.
As the attendees dispersed, Teigen spoke about how much he’d enjoyed meeting veterans from the Eppson Center. It was something that wouldn’t have happened unless he had attended the ceremony, and almost by accident made new connections.
“We just kind of hit it off right away,” Teigen said.
While the attackers on Sept. 11, 2001, sought to tear the country apart, it appeared Tuesday that the ceremony in remembrance of that day brought some in little Laramie, Wyoming, together.