The local veterans saluted as everyone else placed a hand over their hearts to pay tribute to those who died 12 years ago when the country was attacked by terrorists.
Grand Haven Mayor Geri McCaleb spoke during the Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance 2013 Program held at American Legion Post 28. She said there are two moments in her life when time stood still — once when President Kennedy was shot, and again on Sept. 11, 2001.
McCaleb recalled the day when she sat in an office discussing the possibility of running for City Council. A television in the background aired coverage of the attacks, and she witnessed the second plane hit the World Trade Center in New York City.
Since then, McCaleb said the country has been at war with a “diabolical evil.”
“Life in America has not been the same since then,” she said.
American Legion Post 28 Cmdr. Ed DeKoekkoek said he was in his garage 12 years ago when news of the attacks came across the radio. DeKoekkoek, who served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, said he spent the rest of the afternoon watching the coverage.
DeKoekkoek said it is a privilege to remember the men and women who fell as a result of the attacks.
Throughout the afternoon, George Lankes, Sheryl Wescott and Suzanne Stevens delivered pies to first-responders throughout the Tri-Cities area to show their appreciation on behalf of the Grand Haven Elks Lodge.
Lankes, who served in the U.S. Navy, said he watched 9/11 tribute coverage this past weekend.
“It just makes me angry as hell this happened to us,” he said.
Lankes encouraged the community to say a prayer for the innocent people that paid a big sacrifice that day.
Wescott teared up as she considered what it meant to honor those who died 12 years ago in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania.
“It means everything,” she said. “We can’t forget.”