Indianapolis — If you are old enough to remember, you will never forget.
“I think a very common question this time of year is, where were you on 9/11?” said Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin, Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials Commission.
Ten years ago, hunks of charred steel from the collapsed World Trade Center were delivered to Indianapolis for a 9/11 memorial at 421 West Ohio Street overlooking the Downtown Canal.
Saturday afternoon, that location will be rechristened as the Indiana 9/11 Memorial and this morning the sapling of a tree that survived at Ground Zero on that date 20 years ago was planted on the newly expanded site.
“This day affected a lot of people and this gives those folks in New York City that we can identify with them and it’s a living thing,” said Goodwin as he surveyed the enhanced location with a lower wall that faces the Canal emblazoned with the words, “Never Forget.”
James Clark won’t forget. For the last nineteen 9/11s he’s maintained a solemn vigil on the overpass of West 56th Street above I-465 on the westside, waving a large American flag to be observed by the motorists driving below.
“To me it feels like today should be a holy day, a sober day,” said Clark because of, “the ordinary people who became extraordinary that day and gave of themselves in those final moments in most cases to strangers there were acts of bravery and love and kindness and absolute selflessness in the pursuit of helping other people in the most horrific moment that any of us could ever imagine.”
Clark said he was moved by the vision of a single man on September 11, 2001, waving a small flag attached to a tree branch in downtown Washington D.C. after planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
“To me, the flag doesn’t mean just waving fabric in the air and a sense of freedom,” he said. “It defines the school your kids go to. It defines your house, you career, the ones you love, the family and friends around us. It defines a thousand different things, the imagery of the flag, and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Clark said over nineteen years he’s met a woman who lost two relatives in the WTC collapses, a man rescued from an Iraqi prison camp by Navy Seals and countless Hoosiers who stopped by with a coat during inclement weather or a bottle of water on a hot day.
Clark is sixty this year and has survived cancer and a couple surgeries and anticipates that on the day when his body calls it quits, some other “Patriotic Messenger” will pick up his flag and begin to wave it.
“There will be someone who feels passionately like I do, whether it’s a young person or an elderly person, but I have no doubts that someone else will do this,” he said. “What I do on that day carries me and gives me strength and I’m beyond honored and that lives within me all year long.”
Clark admits he will take something for the pain that waving a flag for twelve hours from six a.m. until six p.m. on Saturday causes.
He hopes if anyone is moved by his flag-waving duties, they will donate $5 to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Below is a list of events for Hoosiers wishing to mark the day 20 years ago when America came under attack:
Oaklawn Gardens new memorial unveiling
A 20th Anniversary 9/11 Memorial Tribute will be unveiled on Saturday, September 11 at Oaklawn Memorial Gardens, 9700 Allisonville Road. The memorial will be permanently housed and suspended from the lobby of the multi-purpose center and bear the names of all 2,977 victims who lost their lives during the 9/11 attacks. 8:15 a.m.
The Indianapolis Airport Authority will host its annual Patriots Day ceremony to commemorate those who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the United States. A piece of World Trade Center steel recovered from Ground Zero will be on display at the Indianapolis International Airport in Civic Plaza throughout the day. 8:40 a.m.
Johnson County 20th Commemorative 9/11 Memorial Ceremony – feat. Young/Hollingsworth
Johnson County Professional Firefighters wanted to do something special for our community by hosting a 20th Commemorative 9/11 Memorial Ceremony! This is a free event for the public on Saturday, September 11th at Emmanuel Church of Greenwood. Morning refreshments will be available at 0830 and the ceremony begins at 0900! Scheduled to speak are Representative Trey Hollingsworth, Senator Todd Young, and Major General (Ret) R. Martin Umbarger, ARNG will provide a keynote address on this 20th Anniversary Remembrance.
20th Anniversary Never Forget 9/11 Ride
On Saturday 9/11 a big group of motorcyclists (between 500 -1,000) will be talking off in Fishers (heading downtown) in honor of the 9/11 20th Anniversary. It’s the annual Never Forget 9/11 Ride which raises money for the maintenance of the 9/11 Memorial. They’re also setting up a huge Garrison flag at the 56th St. overpass. 11 AM
State 9/11 Memorial Service
We will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of 911 and re-dedicate the Indiana 911 Memorial at 2 PM on 11 September 2021 located at 421 West Ohio St. Media parking will be available on the west side of the Senate Ave. parking garage on Ohio St. Free parking for participants at the parking garage located at 220 North Senate Ave. from 12 PM-5 PM. If you cannot make the event, please plan to visit the site soon. We have extended the memorial footprint, planted a Survivor Tree from the World Trade Center, installed an 800 lb. piece of limestone from the Pentagon, added state and federal flag poles, and installed recognition of LTG Timothy Maude US Army who was the senior military casualty on 911 who grew up in Indianapolis. The Governor will speak.