It started out as a normal Tuesday morning on September 11, 2001. The events that happened that day will never be forgotten. Most people can remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when the heard the news of the terrorist attacks on our country.

This Friday marks 19 years since that day. In Grand Rapids, the West Michigan Community Day of Remembrance and Scout Salute committee will again hold their annual event honoring those killed in the attacks.

According to the President Ford Field Service Council, this is the longest-running 9/11 tribute in the nation not held at the sites of the attacks. This year, due to the coronavirus, the event will be virtual.

Every year, the President Ford Field Service Council partners with the Boy Scouts of America for the event. The activities will be open to the public via the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation’s Facebook page, starting at sunrise at 7:19 am on Friday. Those who visit the Facebook page and participate in the virtual event are asked to share pictures of their attendance on the page.

The days events will start at sunrise with honor guards from the Grand Rapids Police and Fire departments lowering the flag outside of the Gerald R. Ford Public Museum. Later that morning, at the exact times the planes hit the World Trade Center (8:46 am & 9:03 am), the Pentagon (9:37 am), and crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania (10:03 am), the Grand Rapids Fire Department will ring a bell honoring those who died.

At 12 noon, retired Brigadier General and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security Michael C.H. McDaniel will speak. Later in the evening,  at 6:45 pm, the Boy Scouts of America will hold a discussion on the day’s events. A closing ceremony is planned for sunset at 7:59 pm.

Where were you on September 11th, 2001? Do you remember what you were doing when you heard the news? I was doing mornings on 97.9 WFGR with Rick Beckett and remember reporting that first attack on the World Trade Center. It was a long day of broadcasting, which led to a week of collecting money for the American Red Cross. Listeners here in West Michigan donated over $750,000 during the fundraiser.

We will never forget.