3M's 9/11 Tribute (Set-Up & Ceremony)

(Alexandria, MN) It's over 1500 miles between Alexandria, Minnesota and Manhattan, New York.  Still each September 11th for the past few years a group has paid tribute to the many people who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of 9-11.  

On September 11, 2001 nineteen men hijacked four fuel-loaded US commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.  None of the people who died in the planes or in the buildings were from Alexandria; yet the solemnity and tragedy felt in their flag tribute is difficult to describe.  

On the lawn of the 3M plant in the 1800 block of Broadway Street in Alexandria, you'll see nearly 3000 United States flags stuck in the ground in the shape of the numbers 9-11.  None of the people who died in the planes or in the buildings were from Alexandria; yet the solemnity and tragedy felt in this flag tribute is there.  Some people look at the flag display as a wonderful tribute to a unified country, while others a temporary memorial to the senseless loss of life.  Several years ago Kevin Schutz asked former Douglas County Sheriff and current State Senator Bill Ingebrigtsen if he would help make the flag tribute happen.  It began with very small flags that first year, but has now grown as the size of the flags have.  The Douglas County Honor Guard performed a salute at both 8:59am and 9:28am (CST) to mark the times each tower fell that fateful morning.  The Alexandria fire department brought in a big rig once again to display an even larger flag above the field of red, white and blue.  

At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, or as a result of the crashes.
Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority.
At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location, rather than their unknown target, after the passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.
As of July 2018, CNN reports that 1,642 (or 60%) of 2,753 WTC victims' remains have been positively identified, according to the medical examiner's office.

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