Tina Matthew was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico; Gene Eddy, Vern Stelzer and Clayton Huffman were each at work; Nate Buseck was travelling abroad; others were in school; and some …
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Tina Matthew was stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico; Gene Eddy, Vern Stelzer and Clayton Huffman were each at work; Nate Buseck was travelling abroad; others were in school; and some weren’t even born yet.
Yet, 20 years later, they all stood side-by-side at the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge to remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001 and in the days following.
On Saturday, about 50 people attended the 9/11 remembrance ceremony, hosted by the Elks Lodge and the Clear Creek County Veterans Coalition.
The coalition initially planned a silent parade down Miner Street, but canceled it after the city instituted too many restrictions. So, the coalition instead hosted a remembrance ceremony at the lodge.
The honor guard members from American Legion Post 2001 of Evergreen gave a 21-gun salute and recent Clear Creek High School graduate Campbell Houston played “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes.
The program reflected on those lost on 9/11, the 105 Coloradans who died fighting in the War On Terror, and the personal impact of these events on the attendees.
“Everyone has a story from that day,” Matthew said, inviting attendees to share their personal stories.
Matthew shared her experience at Holloman Air Force Base, and how she made several friendships with people across the world in the wake of 9/11. She commented how the terrorist attacks were meant to destabilize the United States, but instead only strengthened it.
Eddy recalled how he was at work, and felt helpless as he heard and saw the news.
“The rage is still there,” he said.
Buseck, the police chief of Idaho Springs, recalled being out of the country, visiting his brother, on 9/11. He told the story of being in the airport on his trip home and reading the coverage in “Time” magazine, saying he didn’t know most of the stories because of the lack of news where he was traveling.
Buseck, who’d only been a police officer for one year when it happened, thanked all the attendees who’ve served in the military or as emergency responders, saying, “Thank you for what you do and for what you stand for.”
Huffman, a coalition member and Vietnam veteran who served in the U.S. Air Force, said he was on his computer at work when he saw a picture of the World Trade Center on fire.
Huffman shared Matthew’s sentiments that 9/11 was tragic but ultimately made the United States a stronger nation.
“Everybody rushed in, to see what they could to make a difference … to see what they could do to help,” he said of those who were at the epicenter of the attacks.
Stelzer, the commander for American Legion Post 2001 and honor guard captain, recalled how he and all his coworkers hung their heads as they watched the news coverage that day.
“We couldn’t believe it was happening,” he said.
While Americans said in the aftermath that they would never forget what happened, the U.S. Army veteran felt that things went back to normal relatively quickly. Stelzer wanted everyone to remember 9/11, saying, “If you don’t remember things, you don’t learn from them.”
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