BONNERS FERRY – This year September 11 marks the twentieth anniversary of the events that will forever change the history of the United States and have lasting effects on the world, but especially on Americans who have seen the horrors of what many consider as the single most important event to see massive loss of life.
Many people can remember where they were when the event happened and how it had a lasting impact on their lives. Likewise, many actors from the Bonners Ferry community shared their experience and the lasting impact on them.
Ben Apo, VFW station commander, said he was preparing for work and watching television showing the first plane crash and seeing live footage of the second plane crash.
Dave Kramer, Boundary County Sheriff, who also watched television, was incredulous, saying, “At first it was unbelievable that this was a deliberate attack on America.
Lisa Ailport, administrator of Bonners Ferry City, was in college watching the events unfold on television, who spoke to her friend at ROTC about what happened. “I was in total shock and absolutely petrified to have suffered a full scale attack from the then unknown source.”
Many Americans felt numb and shocked by the impossible that was happening on American soil. Many, like Boundary County Chaplain Len Pine, knew that “the world would never be the same.”
Ailport said his initial thought was that this was the next Pearl Harbor and that inevitable war was possible.
“My thoughts were with our servicemen and those I was close with, knowing that we would likely send them into battle,” Ailport said. “I was brooding that a lot of my friends would probably be sent overseas to fight.”
Many knew that justice was needed; Apo “initially wanted revenge, retaliation and revenge”. So Apo felt compelled to try to re-engage.
The events after September 11, 2001 will not only leave a lasting impression, but will also have an impact on lives. Ailport knew the price many would have to pay, directly affected in 2006 after the death of a close friend serving overseas in a helicopter crash.
“I have lost a very good friend who will never be forgotten. I shared his life story with my two young daughters to help keep his memory alive, but also to understand what freedom means to me and to them, ”said Ailport.
Kramer visited the infamous sites of New York and the Pentagon, the grief he felt was unimaginable. Yet he was amazed at how the country came together to support the first responders who bravely worked to save lives.
Events have passed for 20 years and the next generation has not known the tragedies that have unfolded, but only knows them through a chapter of their history books. Pine would like Americans to show their support and honor the dead through memorials and remind people of their civic duty to defend their nation from their enemies.
Kramer said the strong support for the military and first responders in Boundary County is a way to “never forget” and be a patriot.
Ailport would ask the community to remember these lost lives and appreciate those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
As tragic as the events are, Apo quickly points out the heroism of ordinary people and first responders watching horrors, showing the strength of the human spirit.