Tooele County held a countywide memorial service to mark the 20th year since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The event was held at the Utah Motorsports Campus in Grantsville.
The service started with a first responder safety fair that was held from 6 to 8 p.m.
Different agencies, including Tooele City Parks and Recreation and Communities That Care, the Tooele County Health Department, the Tooele County Sheriff’s Office, Grantsville City Police Department and Fire Department, among others all had booths handing out informational fliers, hosting demonstrations, and educating the public about safety.
At 8 p.m., community members gathered on the bleachers for the memorial service, which began with remarks by Grantsville City Mayor Brent Marshall, who hosted the service.
Marshall said that he had recently received a phone call from Utah Senator Mike Lee, who apologized for not being able to attend the event that evening.
“Mike Lee asked me if I would convey a message to all of the residents here, seeing as he said he would not be able to be here and I said I would be honored to,” said Marshall.
Lee told Marshall that 20 years ago, life changed, but citizens had supported each other during the trying times.
“We as Americans observed our own collective drive to protect, comfort, and come together,” Lee told Marshall. “In the hours, days, and months after 9/11, we were one team with one purpose — to heal.”
Marshall said Lee told him to tell those in attendance that they must never forget to love those around them and honor those taken during the events of 9/11 and those who fought overseas after the attack.
After Marshall spoke, the U.S Marine Corps posted the colors. Tooele City Mayor Debbie Winn sang the National Anthem followed by a 21-gun salute.
Then, Dugway Proving Ground’s Chaplin Westley Cornell gave an invocation prayer to officially begin the service.
“Lord, as we gather, we acknowledge the shadow on today,” he prayed. “We remember September 11th and we mourn for the lives lost. We mourn the first responders and those lost in our great country and in the war that followed.”
After Cornell’s prayer, a bagpipe player played “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America.”
Next, Colonel Brian T. Hoffman, Commander at Dugway Proving Ground addressed those in attendance.
“My fellow Americans, this event is for you,” he began. “If you served in uniform, if you served meals to the homeless, if you have fought for our youth, if you have worked in our hospitals, if you’re a first responder, this event is about you. We are gathered to celebrate and honor, and remember our fellow citizens.”
Hoffman spoke about honoring those who had perished during the attacks of 9/11 or overseas afterward, as well as those currently serve and those who serve their communities.
He also spoke about the nation’s healing after 9/11.
“We are gathered to honor those who served and those who continue to serve our communities and nation,” he said. “We are also here to forge ahead and to continue to heal the nation.”
At the end of Hoffman’s speech, he spoke about the bond that those who serve in the military have. He reminded those in attendance that unity is the most important thing.
Hoffman then invited Tooele County Sheriff, Paul Wimmer to take to the stage.
Wimmer told those in attendance that it is hard for him to talk about 9/11.
“This is a tough topic,” he said.
“I thought long and hard about what I would say tonight,” Wimmer continued. “It’s not easy to come up with the words that would properly honor the heroes that we lost on this day 20 years ago or to honor the thousands of soldiers and American contractors who died in the war that followed the attack on 9/11. How do we do justice for the selfless sacrifice that occurred that day?”
415 first responders didn’t come home from their shifts on 9/11, Wimmer said.
“Due to their selfless sacrifice, that was the last day they would kiss their loved one’s goodbye as they left for work,” he said. “How do we truly honor these for their sacrifice?”
Wimmer told a story about Sgt. John Coffman, a police officer who volunteered as a firefighter in New York City.
Coffman died while helping out during the attack on 9/11.
Wimmer told Coffman’s story to show the individuality of those who died during 9/11.
After Wimmer’s speech, Chief Randy Willden, with the North Tooele Fire Department spoke.
He spoke about the chaos the firefighters went through during the attack and the events that occurred.
He also read some of the comments from community members who were present during 9/11.
Next, the Stansbury High School Show Choir sang “America the Beautiful,” after which Col. Steven M. Dowgielewicz, previous commander at Tooele Army Depot, spoke.
Dowgielwicz quoted Franklin Delano Roosevelt after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.
“No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people and their righteous plight will win through the absolute victory,” he quoted.
After the attack of 9/11 Dowgielewicz said that President George Bush said, “What our enemies have begun, we will finish.”
“Both of these attacks were intended to immobilize the American people with fear,” he said. “They had the opposite reaction and rallied the nation together to make things right.”
Dowgielwicz explained that it is important to remember what happened on 9/11 and to remember the strength of democracy.
At the end of the service, fireworks were set off by the Grantsville Fire Department.