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Memorial event in Billings to honor 21st anniversary of 9/11

Twin Towers Memorial
Posted at 2:49 PM, Sep 10, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-10 16:49:43-04

BILLINGS — On Sunday, it will mark the 21st anniversary of the tragedy of 9/11. A memorial event, at the College of Technology in Billings, will start at 8:46 am, the exact time when the plane would’ve struck the tower.

While it sometimes may feel like it was far away for Montanans, there are plenty of people in Billings who have connections to the event.

Retired United Airline pilot and Billings resident Lew Kosich was in the Chicago airport the morning of that fateful day. To him, the day is still overwhelming.

“It would take a very long time to try and describe all of the things that happened that day,” Kosich said.

He spent the next several days helping to sort through the mayhem that had been caused.

“The logistical nightmare was just amazing,” Kosich said.

Whether it was finding people their medicine, or food, or flights that could take them home, Kosich said the experience was unlike anything he’d ever seen. To this day, he remains amazed at the fortitude of America.

“The thing I take away, all these years later, is how everybody got into step, and we just got stuff done,” Kosich said.

Kosich was given the opportunity to speak at the annual event in Billings last year. He said that the best way to honor those who lost their lives is to replicate the infamous day as much as possible.

“There’s a lot of value in creating the feeling of the day. For a moment, even people who weren’t living then have a chance to share in the feelings in those who did experience it,” Kosich said.

Shane Grantham works at the Military and Veterans Success Center at MSUB. He has been in charge of organizing the event this year.

For him, and those who were alive when 9/11 happened, the patriotism that was displayed in the weeks that followed is what stands out.

“Political views kind of go away or should. Nobody thought about what race you were, what religion you were, what gender you were, what your sexual orientation was. It was just like everyone was on the same team,” Grantham said.

Kosich said he’ll never forget the amount of support that came from all over the country.

“There were a lot of just plain old you and I type of citizens that did extraordinary things, helping complete strangers get through that,” Kosich said.

The event in Billings will feature a piece of the original towers, and Grantham said it works to honor the memories of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Twin Tower piece

“So, it’s really kind of a day that the military members and first responders come together and just kind of remember the sacrifices that both sides made,” Grantham said.

Kosich said that the event is important to remember for a lot of different reasons.

“I think it’s important to remember that part of history because of yeah what could happen, but the power we have if we can figure out how to unify,” Kosich said.