BILLINGS- Dozens gathered Tuesday on the lawn of the Yellowstone County courthouse in Billings Tuesday to remember and commemorate those who lost their lives 17 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001, the largest terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
The event this year was called “Keeping Hope and Optimism Alive” and included a talk from Billings Fire Chief William Rash.
“They were not running away from death and destruction but rather running fearlessly into it,” said Rash.
Local public figures stood up to speak at the ceremony.
“We gather here as brothers and sisters to remember the tragedy and celebrate the heroism of September 11, 2001, and beyond,” said Eric Johnson with the local Elks Club.
Members of the Billings Catholic High School Band and choir played and sang during the event.
Billings Mayor Bill Cole, as well as Yellowstone County Commissioner Denis Pitman, gave remarks about remembering lives lost and the ultimate sacrifice given by first responders to help others.
“If we are to again know the unity that we experienced in the aftermath of 9/11, we will have to remember the sacrifices of others,” said Cole.
Veterans were also honored and asked to stand and be recognized.
“As you leave here today I challenge you to see the good in those around you and I challenge you to make a specific goal to do a random act of kindness,” said Yellowstone County Commissioner Denis Pitman.
During the Sept. 11 attacks of 2001, 2,996 people were killed in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.