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Students, First Responders, Others Remember 9/11

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Seniors Tanya Dubose and Claude Harper are among GPHS students "planting" flags in remembrance  9-11. (credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ)

Seniors Tanya Dubose and Claude Harper are among GPHS students “planting” flags in remembrance 9-11. (credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ)

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DETROIT (WWJ) – On the 12th anniversary of the twin tower terrorist attacks, people all across metro Detroit are talking about their memories and the impact of that terrible day.

At Grosse Pointe North High School, many students were so young on 9-11-01 that they’re having a hard time recalling the day itself, but are not forgetting their fellow Americans who died the day the World Trade Center came down.

As part of the 9-11 Never Forget Project, a science class spent time Wednesday morning planting miniature flags in the ground around the flag pole in front of the school and down the boulevard to Vernier Road.

Said 11th grader, Alana Sparks, photo editor for the school yearbook, “I think it’s important to capture every single … like, not every single flag that’s here, but how much work were put into this and actually how many flags we put out here.”

There are 2,977 in all — one for each victim.

At Campus Martius Park in Detroit, police and firefighters paused to mark that fateful day.

Detroit Fire Commissioner Don Austin said it’s hard to believe it happened 12 years ago.

“… It’s just incredibly still in my memory, and I think it’s probably one of the worst things that’s ever happened to our United State of America, and certainly to the firefighters and the first responders who gave up their lives and their families.

“So my heart continues to bleed for them, and they’re always in the forefront of my mind,” Austin said.

Former Detroit Deputy Fire Commissioner J. Gregory Love took a job in Washington D.C. in 2001, and was there to witness the attack on our nation’s capital.

“We were at our staff meeting when the plane hit the Pentagon,” he told WWJ’s Vickie Thomas. “We could actually see the smoke from our building at 941 East Capitol Street in Northwest Washington D.C.”

Love said there are lessons to be learned from that day.

“You can never discontinue training, practicing. How do you get out of a building in the event that there is a major emergency? Where is the nearest exit to your office? These are little basic things you have to go over before the incident occurs,” he said.

Paramedic Ryan Nielsen says he was inspired to follow that line of work by the selfless actions of others on that day.

“The time to come after that, (I spent) reevaluating my life and also my place in our country,” Nielsen said. “The service of those people inspired me to get involved with emergency services,” Nielsen told WWJ’s Ron Dewey.

Many say they’ll simply never forget where they were when it happened.

Said one local man, “I was actually in gym class when we heard about it. It was devastating … Actually, I had family who lived in New York, like right down the street from it.”

“I remember sitting in a waiting room, watching it happen. It was sort of surreal at the time,” said another.

Don Zeter was living in New York at the time but was in metro Detroit on business that particular morning.

“Our meeting was stopped because everybody came into tell us we to evacuate the tower in Southfield … the Town Center, the 27th floor,” Zeter said. “They came to tell us you have to evacuate because something happened at the World Trade Center — and we couldn’t believe it.”

There are several events planned in the Detroit area to commemorate the day. Get the details HERE.

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