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On The 20th Anniversary Of 9/11, Here's How Central Texans Are Honoring The Lives Lost

A flag rests on the 9/11 monument at the Texas State Cemetery on May 2, 2011.
Liang Shi for KUT
A flag rests on the 9/11 monument at the Texas State Cemetery on May 2, 2011.

Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001. Al-Qaida terrorists hijacked four commercial planes, crashing two of them into the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Va. The fourth plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa.

A number of Central Texas organizations are honoring the victims and first responders who lost their lives that day.

9/11 Memorial Ceremony at Buford Fire Tower
The Austin Firefighters Association is holding its annual memorial to remember those who died on Sept. 11, 2001. The ceremony will take place at 7:30 a.m. at the Buford Fire Tower on Lady Bird Lake, across from City Hall. The event is open to the public. Austin firefighters will also take part in the annual memorial stair climb at the Pleasant Valley Drill Tower, but that event is closed to the public because of COVID-19.

Bagpipes and Drums at the Texas Capitol
The Emergency Service Pipes and Drums Association will perform at noon at the Texas Capitol Rotunda. ESPADA is a Central Texas band made up of firefighters, police and paramedics.

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at Hill Country Galleria
The public is invited to cheer on police and firefighters as they climb stairs at the Hill Country Galleria — the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Members of the Bee Cave Police, Lakeway Police and Lake Travis Fire Rescue will participate in the memorial stair climb Saturday at 7:46 a.m. It takes place at the Galleria’s parking garage A (near Dillard’s). The event isn’t timed and it's meant to honor the firefighters who gave their lives to save others that day. More information here.

9/11 COTA Tower Climb
Samaritan Center is hosting a tower climb at Circuit of the Americas to honor the victims of 9/11. Participants will climb the stairs of the COTA observation tower four times, about the equivalent of the number of floors in the Twin Towers. Registration to participate was $30 per person (the event was sold out as of Thursday, but $10 commemorative t-shirts are still available). The event benefits Samaritan Center’s Hope for Heroes program which provides mental health support to veterans, first responders and military families. More information here.

9/11 Memorial: The 20 Year Anniversary
Artist Claude van Lingen’s 9/11 Memorial: The 20 Year Anniversary will be on display at Co-Lab Projectsin East Austin on Saturday until Sept. 18. The piece honors those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks and in the subsequent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The exhibition features two large drawings on which the names of 2,753 people who died at the World Trade Center were written over and over, causing the paper to tear. Several other drawings memorialize those who died in the Pentagon attack, the Pennsylvania crash and the ensuing wars. Visitors will have the opportunity to contribute to a collaborative artwork by writing the names of those killed in the attacks on a large piece of paper. COVID-19 precautions will be in place. The opening reception is Saturday from 4 to 10 p.m. More information here.

Rotary Club of Northwest Austin 9/11 Tribute
The Rotary Club of Northwest Austin is hosting a memorial on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. across the street from the main entrance to the Balcones Country Club at 8600 Balcones Club Drive. The rotary club has placed 300 American flags on the lot (one flag representing about 10 people) to serve as a memorial to those who died in the attacks. At 9 a.m. on Saturday, Boy Scout Troop 513 will post the colors, say a prayer, do the pledge of allegiance and sing the national anthem. Members of the rotary club will then read the names of all those who died during the attacks. More information here.

9/11 20th Anniversary Remembrance in Cedar Park
The American Legion Hunter-Morris Memorial Post 911 is hosting a remembrance event Saturday beginning at 8 a.m. in Veterans Memorial Park in Cedar Park. The event will feature speakers, including Cedar Park Mayor Corbin Van Arsdale and members of the city's police and fire departments. Find more information here.

San Marcos flag raise and stair climb
Each year on Sept. 11, the San Marcos Fire Department raises the flag that flew over San Marcos City Hall on Sept. 11, 2001. The public can watch Saturday’s flag raising in person or virtually. The event will stream on the City of San Marcos Facebook page at 8:40 a.m. The San Marcos Fire Department will also be hosting its first 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at San Marcos High School’s Rattler Stadium. Only first responders can participate but the public can show support. More information here.

Marisa Charpentier is KUT's assistant digital editor. Got a tip? Email her at Follow her on Twitter @marisacharp.
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