BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — With every ring of a bell, the Buffalo Naval Park read the stories of loved ones who were impacted or lost on 9/11 on the 21st anniversary of the attacks.

“I think we all remember what it was like for two years, three years afterwards,” said Erie Country Executive Mark Poloncarz, who attended the event. “Now unfortunately, it’s just become in some people’s eyes just a regular day. It will never be a regular day, we must always honor the individuals who were lost that day.”

The bell rang 65 times, honoring some of the lives that we’re taken in the attacks that day, including the lives that had a Western New York connection.

Margaret Walier Seeliger, from Hamburg, was working on the 100th floor of the south tower, when the plane hit.

“Margaret gave up her place on a crowded elevator to make room for another colleague, telling them she would take the stairs,” said Terry McGuire, a Chairman of the Buffalo Naval Park. “Those in the elevator made it out safely. Margaret did not.”

As the years continue to pass since that day, organizers say it’s important to keep the names lost alive, honor the troops who fought for our freedom, and most importantly, to teach future generations the impact the attacks had on our democracy.

“To me, the most important part is to bring your kids, bring your grandkids,” said President and CEO of the Buffalo Naval Park, Paul Marzello. “My generation and slightly younger realize what that moment was like, that tragic morning, but it’s not an event for younger kids. It’s important for them to come with the parent, with a grandparent, so they can not only understand but appreciate the things that we hold to our hearts–which is the freedom.”

Nearly 3,000 people lost their lives that day, and the impact of the attacks still last two decades later. Organizers say tens of thousands came forward reporting long term medical conditions following the attacks from inhaling the dust at Ground Zero, and thousands of troops went over seas to defend the nation’s freedom in the past twenty years.

“It seems like it’s been a long time since that tragic incident, but it’s important for us, as the naval park to make sure people remember that day and that we use it as a tool to educate and to inspire people to make sure we never forget and to make sure we realize what the price of freedom really is.” said Marzello.

For more information on the Buffalo Naval Park you can head to their website here.

To find out more information about those who continue to be impacted, please feel free to visit the follow pages below:

Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The U.S. department of Veterans Affairs

Hope Winter is a reporter and multimedia journalist who has been part of the News 4 team since 2021. See more of her work here.