MEDINA — Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Ed Zackery said the world has never been the same.
“The world stopped that day,” the director of the Medina County Veterans Service Office said Tuesday before an overflow crowd of about 150 at Medina Fire Station 1, 300 W. Reagan Parkway.
He said there are certain times in history that will always be remembered; 9/11 will be one of them.
“9/11 was this generation’s Pearl Harbor,” said Kelly Low of the Medina Rotary Club. “It’s an important part of world history.”
Low is credited as being the driving force into bringing the 9/11 Memorial to Medina and raising the necessary funds. An 8-foot steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center is the focal part of the 9/11 Memorial.
Zackery, a U.S. Army veteran, said it was important to him to help organize the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony on Tuesday.
Other event sponsors were the city of Medina; the Rotary Club; Rolling Thunder, Ohio Chapter 8; American Legion; and Veterans of Foreign Wars.
“It’s important to remember that day, but also the people who sacrificed on that day and lost their lives that day,” Zackery said.
He said 9/11 is very important to him and his family. He was stationed at Fort Drummond in Drummond Island, Mich., during 9/11. His 10th Mountain Division was the first to deploy after 9/11.
“I’m very connected to it,” he said. “It was a very emotional day for me.”
He said there are men and women fighting in the war on terrorism who are 18 years old.
“They were 1 year old when this happened 17 years ago,” Zackery said. “One … year … old. We are still fighting the war.
“It’s easy to look at that memorial and some of the emotions that come across are hatred, anger and some very negative thoughts. I’ll tell you what. I’m tired of the anger. Make today about the remembrance, meditation and prayer for those who lost loved ones and are still fighting today’s war.”
Zackery said the memorial is not just a monument.
“It’s therapeutic,” he said. “It’s educational. It will help you heal and learn. It’s a beautiful monument.”
The memorial was turned over to the city July 28, Low said.
Avon Democrat Ken Harbaugh, who is running for a seat in the U.S. House representing Ohio’s 7th District, said he will never forget 9/11.
“It’s not over,” he said. “Every year on this day, I think of buddies of mine who are still fighting and some that have not come home.”
Harbaugh was a Navy mission commander flying reconnaissance planes.
“(After the terrorist attacks), my first call was to the maintenance shed to get our planes ready,” he said. “We needed to get the reconnaissance planes in the air. People have been on watch since then.”
Brunswick City Manager Carl DeForest said when he watched the commercial airlines plow into the World Trade Center in New York, he thought the worst was on the way.
“This may be the beginning of World War III,” he said to himself. “We didn’t know at that time what was going to happen.”
DeForest’s address reminded everyone that “Fear is a reaction. Courage is a decision.”
He said 2,977 people died that day in the deadliest attack on American soil.
“Remember the fear (we felt that day),” DeForest said. “Remember the courage (of the first responders and the passengers on those planes).”
United Airlines Flight 93 flew over Medina County that day before it crashed in Shanksville, Pa., at 10:03 a.m. Many think the flight was headed to the White House before passengers thwarted the terrorists’ attack and crashed the plane.
Planes hit the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
During the remembrance ceremony Tuesday, there was a gun salute by the honor guard, bell honors, an invocation prayer for peace and a call to silence.
Post Commander Dave Taylor said American Legion Post 202 “was honored to represent those men and women who serve our nation and community by participating with our Honor Guard today in this solemn memorial ceremony to 9/11. We will not forget.”