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United: 20 Years Later - Toledo's 9/11 memorial focuses on reflection, and fellowship

Instead of a speech, Fire Chief Byrd let people reflect on how 9/11 affected their lives.

TOLEDO, Ohio — A bell rings out at exactly 8:46 a.m. on Saturday - symbolizing the time the first plane hit the north tower of the World Trade Center on 9/11, twenty years ago. It was part of Toledo Fire and Rescue's 9/11 memorial at Chubb DeWolfe park downtown.

The solemn affair was hosted by Fire Chief Brian Byrd, who says remembering September 11th is necessary - not just so people never forget the events that transpired - but to see how it's still affecting us today.

"Lives were changed by that. Generations will be changed by that. We can't let this be a moment of history that's just a half-page in a history book in a classroom, we have to truly understand the impact of what happened," said Chief Byrd.

In place of a speech, Chief Byrd called for a moment for attendees to go around and share with one another their memory of that day, and how it affected them.

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"It wasn't the typical memorial service, we wanted it to be about reflecting on what happened and fellowshipping who are here. You know, we often don't talk about those things. This is a way for us to do that as a way of reflection," Chief Byrd explained.

For Mike McMahon, an attendee of the event, even twenty years later, he can remember the fear from that day when he first heard the news.

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"I couldn't believe it. And then I went back into my office on the fifth floor, and I looked out my window and thought, "there could be a plane crashing into this building." That's how personal it became. Everyone was scared out of their wits," said McMahon.

The scars this nation endured from the events of 9/11 can still be felt today. Chief Byrd says memorials like these, that encourage people to share their stories, give Americans a chance to heal.

"I don't know if 'closure' is the right word, but I don't think we talk about things that affect us enough. And this was a chance to do that," said Chief Byrd.


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