The community is invited to the annual September 11 Observance at the Cmdr. Dan Shanower Sept. 11 Memorial beginning at 08:46AM Sat., Sept. 11.
The remembrance with patriotic music performed by the Naperville Municipal Band as well as Naperville Men’s Glee Club along with Naperville Firefighters Highland Guard pipes and drums, is set to honor nearly 3,000 individuals killed in the 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon and aboard Flights 11, 77, 175 and 93.
Organized by the Exchange Club of Naperville Americanism Committee, the observance will be held at Naperville’s Sept. 11 Memorial, a tribute to Navy Commander Dan Shanower, the Naperville native who was killed while serving at the Pentagon on the fateful day in 2001.
“I just thought of inviting as many people that I know,” said Exchange Club member Marty Walker, a retired firefighter, who has been coordinating the remembrance for a decade. “Of the nearly 3,000 killed, 343 were firefighters and 60 were police officers.
Walker considers it a high honor to help bring the community together.
“Twenty years ago we as a nation took a vow to never forget,” Walker said. “Especially now, during these troubling and turbulent times with so much uncertainty, we as a community intend to keep that promise.”
This year’s guest speaker will be Jose Santiago, former Commissioner of the Chicago Fire Department.
Music will begin at 08:15AM, performed by the Naperville Municipal Band in the Riverwalk Amphitheater across the DuPage River from the Sept. 11 Memorial.
“Being the 20th anniversary of that tragic event, we will start the remembrance at 08:46AM — the time that flight 11 crashed into the North face of 1 WTC between floors 93 & 99,” noted Walker.
The Naperville Men’s Glee Club will perform “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning” by Alan Jackson along with a song written by the Eagles “There’s a Hole in the World Tonight.”
The tribute will begin with the combined Color Guard from the Judd Kendall VFW Post #3873 and the American Legion Post #43 Naperville Fire and Police Departments.
A prayer by the Chaplin of the Naperville Fire Department will be followed by remarks Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis and Interim Police Chief Jason Arres.
Walker said the Shanower family will be represented by Stephanie Shanower and Rachel Wike, Dan Shanower’s nieces.
“Pausing to reflect is just another way to bring the community together in the name of public service and first responders – and to respect and remember that freedom isn’t free,” added Walker.
In advance of the formal Sept. 11 remembrance, twin beams of light representing the Twin Towers will shine during the evening hours of Sept. 9 and 10 courtesy of search lights used in Europe during World War II.