MARYSVILLE — Sept. 11 fell on a Sunday this year, but that didn’t deter the city of Marysville from commemorating the 15th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center.
As always, Marysville police and firefighters formed ranks in their dress blues by the city’s Police and Firefighters Memorial, in front of the Marysville Sno-Isle Library, from 8:30-9 a.m., to coincide with the moment the first tower was hit at 8:46 a.m.
Mayor Jon Nehring delivered the keynote address, pointing out that the attacks’ 2,977 victims included 343 firefighters and 72 officers who responded to try and rescue those who were trapped or injured.
Nehring diverged from his usual remarks to report that the event’s history recently took an unexpectedly local twist.
“Perhaps the most iconic image, and certainly the most inspiring one, came just hours after the attack, when Brooklyn firefighters raised an American flag at Ground Zero,” Nehring said. “Later that day, the flag was reported missing.”
Nehring noted the Everett Daily Herald reported last week that what is believed to be the same flag was turned into an Everett fire station in late 2014.
“Detectives spent nearly two years of investigation, involving DNA testing, forensic analysis, the Washington State Patrol Crime Lab in Marysville, and even The History Channel,” Nehring said. “They concluded, along with other experts, that the Everett flag is nearly certainly the same one that flew at Ground Zero.”
On Sept. 8, the flag was unveiled at a special ceremony at the National Sept. 11 Memorial Museum in Manhattan, N.Y., having made its way home at last.
“Home has many different meanings,” Nehring said. “On the same day of the terrorist attacks, one of our own first responders lost his life to cancer.”
Lt. Jeff Thornton was an 18-year veteran with Marysville Fire. Known as “Fireman Jeff,” he served as a public education officer, conducting in-school and community workshops, organizing an annual safety fair, and designing a mobile training simulator.
Nehring thanked the Marysville Fire District for organizing the memorial event every year since 2001.
“We’ve all seen the slogan, ‘We will never forget,’ ” Nehring said. “Here in Marysville, we are determined to follow through on that.”
Nehring added: “We stand in solidarity, never forgetting the first responders who gave their lives trying to save others, along with all who perished on that tragic day. Let us take a few moments this morning to include in our thoughts and prayers those left behind, who face an empty chair at the dinner table, those left now with with only blessed memories of their loved ones, taken so swiftly and tragically.”