MILWAUKEE — Elected officials and first responders gathered at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center early Friday morning to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001.
The event is normally open to the public. This year, it was held privately due to concerns over COVID-19. The public watched online via Facebook.
There was a wreath-laying ceremony and the Milwaukee County Sheriff Honor Guard presented the colors.
Both city and county leaders vowed to never forget the lives lost during those attacks.
"At a time in our nation where our first responders are being scrutinized, oftentimes very, very importantly, I think it's important to remember the important role they play in our society as well. They were there when we needed them most," said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.
During the moments of reflection and remembrance, leaders honored the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost while also preaching that the "hope" and "unity" that brought our nation together to heal in the aftermath of those attacks are still top American values today.
"The lessons of 9/11 shows that unity is one of the strongest weapons in our arsenal today," said Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley.
Several speakers also pointed out that the togetherness found in our nation in its darkest moments is needed now as we cope with everything happening in our country today.
"If we can just revive that spirit that got us through 9/11, I think it could carry us through the difficult days over the past seven months," said Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee County Sheriff.
Mayor Barrett echoed a similar message.
"That spirit of coming together as a nation is one that we sorely need in this country right now. But, this is not a day of politics - this is a day of tribute," said Mayor Barrett.
The people in attendance wore masks and sat socially distanced.
Speeches were made by Milwaukee Common Council President Cavalier Johnson, Milwaukee County Executive David Crowley, City of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, and Dan Buttery, President and CEO of the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center.
Chief Mark Rohlfing of the Milwaukee Fire Department, Sheriff Earnell Lucas, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Denita Ball, Interim Milwaukee Police Chief Michael Brunson, members of the Milwaukee Police Department and Cassandra Libal, Director of the Milwaukee County Office of Emergency Management, were all in attendance as well.