For Tony D’Agnese of Roseburg, the 9/11 terrorist attacks on this day 17 years ago had a big impact on his life.
D’Agnese went to high school in Rockaway, New York, just a short distance from John F. Kennedy International Airport and in view of the World Trade Centers. His 47th birthday, on Sept. 11, 2001, left a lasting impression.
D’Agnese played in a marching band in high school with his good friend John Moran, a chief with the New York City Fire Department. Moran was one of six people who died in the attacks that D’Agnese knew from his time at St. Camillas Catholic Academy in Queens.
His goal is to keep the memories of those people alive, and decided several years ago to conduct a ceremony at the 9/11 memorial in front of CHI Mercy Medical Center every year to honor his friends and all the other first responders and civilians that died in the attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C., and in the plane crash in Pennsylvania.
As the years have passed, the interest in the memorial service has dwindled, but D’Agnese said remembering is important to him.
“In one sense everyone has pretty much moved on with their lives, which is what you would want them to do, but I think it’s important that we remember and take the time,” D’Agnese said. “Like today, people chose to sacrifice a little of their Tuesday morning to remember the sacrifice made on that morning 17 years ago.”
Several members of the Roseburg Fire Department were at the memorial, including Lt. Ryan Travis, who was a relatively new firefighter at the time of the attacks, and was able to go to New York for some funerals. He saw the impact it had on the country.
“I think it’s important to remember what people sacrificed, not only the firefighters and other first responders, but the civilians that lost their lives, and how the country came together, civilians, military and everyone,” Travis said.
D’Agnese conducted his annual service at the 9/11 memorial with the flag at half-staff. He played several tunes on his trumpet, including the national anthem, Amazing Grace and ending with taps.
Governor Kate Brown ordered flags at all public institutions throughout Oregon to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Sept. 11 for Patriot Day.