SOMERSET COUNTY, Pa (WTAJ) — The 20th Anniversary of the September 11 attacks is less than a week away. The Shanksville Volunteer Fire Department hosted the annual Flight 93 flag ceremony at their station Saturday.
This ceremony has been held for the past 15 years, with the last few years being held at the station. Over 200 Patriot Riders rode their bikes to the Shanksville Fire Station.
The Shanksville firefighter greeted the riders with open arms by feeding them classic burgers and hot dogs before the ceremony officially began. Shanksville Fire Safety Officer Roger Brandt said this was the biggest turnout they’ve seen since they started hosting the ceremonies.
“We weren’t expecting this many people,” Brandt said. “We’re a team here, small town. We all work great together and work as a great group. We were able to make everything come through.”
Members of the riders carried the flags of the victims from Flight 93, Armed Forces, first responders, and the 9/11 memorial flag. Shanksville Deputy Fire Chief, Brad Shober, says that they do this ceremony for the victims.
“It’s about those 40 that were on Flight 93. As we tell their story, as we tell our story,” Shober said. “We aren’t the heroes of the day. We didn’t save anybody. There wasn’t anybody for us to save. They are the heroes in the countless lives they saved by not having the plane get to its destination.”
Both firefighters recalled the memory of their days on September 11, 2001. Brandt says that he was in training down South and drove all the way to Shanksville to help with the recovery. However, both firefighters have similar words from the events, just like others across the country.
“Never forget, it might be 20 years. Every year when it rolls around in September, it’s like it was yesterday,” Shober said.
“Nobody is going to forget it. Everybody is going to remember what has happened,” Brandt said.
All the riders were grateful for all the hospitality and welcome arms to the event. Shober says the main comment he received was about the great burgers he cooked. But Brandt says that the teams say it’s a great feeling to see everyone’s face year after year.
“They’re a great group of people. It’s a very good cause,” Brandt said. “And it’s nice to see the people come down and remember flight 93 and the passengers and flight crew on the plane.”
Shober says that as long as the building stands, the fire station will continue to host the ceremony.
“You know this is 20 years. We’ll do it again 21,” Shober said. “We’ll do it again 22. And at 25 they’ll host a big celebration, and at 30 they’ll do something big again. But we’ll be here.”
Following the ceremony at the station, the riders took their bikes down to the actual Flight 93 National Memorial.
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