MILWAUKEE — Flags flew at half-staff Wednesday across Wisconsin in honor of the victims of Sept. 11 as local leaders stood united with the Milwaukee County community reiterating the importance of remembering the significance of this day.
A somber gathering at Milwaukee County's War Memorial Center honored the lives lost 18 years ago on a day that changed this country forever.
“Once we start forgetting, it’s over,” said Joe Campbell, a Vietnam veteran.
Campbell said he’ll never forget that tragic day in American history when terrorist attacks killed nearly 3,000 people. Campbell was also instrumental in bringing an I-beam recovered from ground zero to Milwaukee.
“It was sacred because what we carried with us was not just those 3,000 lives, but the lives of all our brothers and sisters from all wars,” he said.
During the ceremony, law enforcement officials and first responders laid white wreaths representing all who died in the attacks. More than 410 of those people were emergency workers, including 343 firefighters.
Marcia Cunningham, a Navy veteran, was on active duty when the World Trade Center towers came down. As she watched, she said her heart stopped.
“It was just heartbreaking, and today you have to remember,” Cunningham said.
And even after 18 years, she said remembering the horrific events of Sept. 11 never gets easier.