BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – It’s been 18 years since terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers in New York City, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people. Today, Western New Yorkers are making sure the victims are never forgotten.
Members of the Buffalo Chapter of the veterans service group Team Red, White and Blue are carrying American Flags and Flags of Honor around the ring road at Delaware Park all day in honor of those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
They embarked on their day long trek at sunrise at 6:51 a.m. following a short ceremony with the Air Force Honor Guard out of Niagara Falls.
It’s a tradition Team RWB started seven years ago in Buffalo, and those who are carrying the flags say it’s important to continue this mission.
“It’s to keep the memory alive and to honor those who’ve both perished as well as the survivors of the people who have perished,” said Keith Weinsaft, one of the people carrying a flag Wednesday.
Most people of a certain age remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they got the news that terrorists had attacked sites in the United States.
But, that was nearly two decades ago now, and there is an entire generation of Americans now learning about that day in history books.
“It means that we’ve got to make sure that memory stays alive, that they understand the pain, the horror of that day, the uncertainty and the way that the country was able to pull through and overcome it,” said Jeff Gray, Buffalo Chapter Captain for Team RWB.
Veterans like Gray who were carrying flags Wednesday said the country was forever changed by what happened on 9/11. Gray points out the US military went from having occasional deployments to near constant deployments, and there is still a large contingent of Americans serving in the middle east.
A retired firefighter, Gray also points out how 9/11 drove home the life and death nature of the service of first responders.
9/11 marked a turning point in American history.
“It really showed us that we were vulnerable, and I think it made us more one with the world and all the other problems and tribulations that occurred around the world,” Weinsaft said.
Out of those tribulations, though, rose a renewed pride in the Stars and Stripes and what that symbol represents.
“The American flag is a beacon of light to the world,” Gray said.
At least one American flag will be carried continuously around the Ring Road at Delaware Park until dusk at 7:33 p.m. Wednesday.
Members of the public are invited to join the flag carriers. You can bring your own American flag or borrow one from Team RWB, and you can do as few or as many laps with the group as you’d like.