Sept. 11 ceremony planned in Elk River

by Jim Boyle
The 10th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States of America will be marked in Elk River with a ceremony and open house from noon to 4 p.m. at the Elk River Public Safety Complex.
Elk River Police and Fire along with the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office have joined forces to honor the fallen men and women from a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks.
The event will begin with a ceremony at noon and lead into an afternoon focused on public safety in Elk River. With police, fire and county officials coming together, it was decided to take the fire department’s annual open house and dance to a higher level and move it to the public safety complex.
Among the public safety components to be on display will be the county’s  water patrol and mounted patrol as well as its crime lab. Elk River police will present their S.W.A.T. team and the fire department will show off its new rescue truck.
The State Patrol will also have on site a rollover simulator to give people an idea of what it’s like to be the victim in a rollover accident.
There will also be a junior firefighter display, which will allow kids to dress up and use miniature fire hoses.
The National Guard will be on hand with a Hummer and a rock-climbing wall.
There will be K-9 demonstrations at 1:30 and 3 p.m.
Randy’s Sanitation will be providing free shredding services for up to two banker’s boxes’ worth per family.
All together, there will be 35 exhibits.
Later that night, the fire department will host its annual fire department dance with music from Martin Zellar, a Neil Diamond tribute band, and Shane Martin.
Gates will open at 6 p.m. with music starting at 7 p.m.
This year’s event marks the fire department’s 130th year, which is overshadowed, of course, by the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
On the fateful morning of Sept. 11, 2001, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four passenger jets. The hijackers intentionally crashed two planes into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and thousands of those working in the buildings. Both towers collapsed within two hours, destroying nearby buildings and damaging others.
A third plane was crashed into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.
Hijackers had redirected the fourth plane toward Washington, D.C., targeting either the Capitol building or the White House, but crashed it in a field near Shanksville, Pa. after passengers tried to take control of the plane.
Nearly 3,000 victims and the 19 hijackers died in the attacks. Among the 2,753 victims who died in the attacks on the World Trade Center were 343 firefighters and 60 police officers from New York City and the Port Authority, and eight private emergency medical technicians and paramedics.
Another 184 people were killed in the attack on the Pentagon.
There were no survivors from any of the flights.
The overwhelming majority of casualties were civilians, including nationals of over 70 countries.
Honor guards from the Elk River Police Department and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office will take part in the ceremony set to occur shortly after noon.
The Sherburne County Honor Guard will provide a firing detail to the ceremony, which will lead into a program featuring Elk River Mayor John Dietz as well as Elk River Police Chief Brad Rolfe and Elk River Fire Chief John Cunningham.
“It’s important we do this,” said Elk River Police Capt. Bob Kluntz.