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9/11 flag remembrance display at Riverton City Park 'brings a lot of emotions to the surface'

A large number of American flags, honoring the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, are on display at the Riverton City Park, ahead of the 20th anniversary. (Jed Boal, KSL-TV)

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RIVERTON — America will soon commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

In Riverton City Park, a large display of American flags, honoring the victims of the attacks in 2001, has already been set up.

City officials hope people will stop by to remember, learn and possibly reignite a sense of American unity.

Riverton wants to make sure we never forget the importance of the day.

"As you come here and look at these flags, you can't help but become reflective," said Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs. "And try to remember that day, not only to honor those that have lost their lives, but to remember that feeling of unity."

Nearly 3,000 people were killed in those attacks and 6,000 others were injured.

"It brings a lot of emotions to the surface," said Chelsea Barlow, who stopped by to look at the display with her children. "I was in third grade when that happened. I remember that day and how scary that was and all the teachers had the TVs on."

Barlow now teaches her children about the history of 9/11 at home and was glad to be able to show them the display Friday.

She remembers how she felt that day.

"I remember thinking how sad it was that someone would do that and how many lives were lost," she said. "That was really sad, and how scared people probably felt."

The attacks left an indelible emotional mark on the life of Staggs.

He was working for Morgan Stanley at the time, which leased more than 10% of the space in the Twin Towers.

He was working in the Salt Lake City offices that day, but knew of colleagues who were killed.

"It was just unbelievable," said Staggs. "It's a moment in time that you'll just never forget."

When people walk among the flags, he hopes they not only remember the importance of the attacks, but also the way we felt as a country.

"I just remember, very distinctly, that we came together, united. We're all Americans," the mayor said. "We have so many different ethnicities and religions and backgrounds here, but I think we should all strive to create one culture — the American culture."

Brandon Woodward came by with his family to check out the display.

On that day, 20 years ago, he was in chemistry class at the University of Utah, when someone came in and sent them home.

"A date I don't think I could ever forget," he said.

Woodward remembers feeling very serious, yet calm.

"It's kind of hard to explain what was going on in my mind that time. Almost everyone else, too," he said. "But, to be honest, just a quiet calm ... and prayer for those who had been involved."


Jed Boal


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