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Remembering the fallen during a deadly pandemic

This Sept. 11 marked the 19th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City. On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, at 8:46 a.m., a jet hijacked by terrorists crashed into the World Trade Center, and another one crashed into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

The day was even more somber this year because of the more than 32,000 deaths in New York due to the COVID-19 pandemic; New York has been one of the states COVID-19 has hit the hardest.

The annual ceremony in New York City underwent a series of changes to maintain the 6-foot social distancing guideline. The names of the victims weren’t read in person but were pre-recorded. Attendance was limited because of concerns over COVID-19 transmission.

As a response to the change, the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, created to honor firefighters’ memory who died at the World Trade Center, organized an alternative ceremony. It was held parallel to the Memorial Plaza event and family members read the victims’ names.

Attendees wore masks and sat or stood apart from each other. In previous years, the family of the victims hugged each other. This year, because of safety precautions, many bumped fists.

Remembering the victims and the heroes who sacrificed their lives to save others has become part of the country’s culture. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has caused major changes to the ways in which we remember these events and people.

Many posted on social media shared their feelings at the moment of the tragedy and recalled where they were and what they were doing when the planes crashed. Many changed their Facebook status to “Never Forget.”

Utah lowered the United States flags to half staff from sunrise to sunset at all state facilities.

Sandy postponed its traditional honoring ceremony and concert. The city put up around 3,000 flags spaced out to facilitate COVID-19 health guidelines outside Sandy Hall.

Another ceremony, organized by Utah State University, was held on the Kaysville campus.

Those killed in the tragedy are remembered, as is the day that changed the country.

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