Watertown Mayor Mike Jennings welcomed the crowd at noon and introduced the Watertown High School choir, who sang the national anthem. Police Chaplain Don Willis gave the invocation.
“God, we are forever mindful that there is a cost for freedom in this land,” Willis said. “We ask that you remind us every day that evil is real; there is evil in this world. We thank You for those who fight it each day, for those in the Armed Forces, who fight it across the world for freedom.”
After an introduction from Jennings, 15thDistrict criminal court Judge Brody Kane, a Watertown native and 1988 Watertown High School graduate, spoke to those gathered Tuesday.
“I must tell you that when Mayor Jennings asked me to participate, I was not only honored, but also just a little bit nervous,” Kane said. “See, to me and my generation, 9-11 is a day like no other. Seventeen years ago on this day in 2001, almost 3,000 Americans lost their lives in an act of terrorism that occurred here on American soil. In my lifetime, there has no other day that caused such widespread horror or fear. Who would have thought those two words, 9-11, could hold that much meaning?”
Kane, like many others older than 21 years old, recalled exactly where he was and what he was doing when the terrorist attacks started. He said he was on his way to a criminal court appearance in Sumner County when he stopped to get gas in Gallatin when he heard the news on the radio.
“From the horror, however, came stories of survival, heroism, perseverance, and for weeks and even months later, the whole country was filled with a sense of united patriotism,” Kane said. “Every year since, you just have to say the words, 9-11, and it all comes rushing back.”
Kane said he and his family went to New York City and saw the site where the Twin Towers once stood a few years ago. He said a reflecting pool replaces the towers, along with a monument with the names of those who lost their lives etched in it.
“America is made up of a country of survivors,” Kane said. “…Seventeen years ago, terrorists wanted to bring us to our knees, but history shows they didn’t even come close.”
Norene resident Ken Kackley rounded out the event’s speakers with his own recollection of Sept. 11. Kackley, a veteran and 27-year volunteer firefighter, worked as a volunteer mounted ranger at Cedarville State Park in Maryland.
It wasn’t long after the crash that Kackley received a page from his chief, and he was called to the Pentagon to offer assistance.
The Watertown High School band and choir, under the direction of Scott Corley, joined together to sing Ave Maria to end the remembrance ceremony.