9/11 events around the CSRA

Friday, September 10th 2021, 8:33 PM EDT

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - Saturday marks the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and several groups and organizations are holding remembrance ceremonies around the CSRA. 

The City of Augusta and Augusta University are teaming up for an event at AU's Summerville Campus followed by a Tunnel to Towers 5K race. The event starts at 8 a.m. and includes several key speakers from the community, including representatives from the Sheriff's and Marshall's Offices as well as the new Augusta Fire Chief Antonio Burden. 

Tunnel to Towers is a national organization founded in memory of fallen New York firefighter Stephen Siller, who was killed during the attacks while trying to save others. The Augusta chapter of Tunnel to Towers was founded in 2016 by John Ryan, a New York native who also works at AU. 

“As an American, I felt attacked. As a New Yorker, I felt devastated that my city had been attacked and destroyed. As a kid, the Twin Towers were such a monument to excellence; there was nothing like them in the world," Ryan says, adding that he hopes Saturday's event will be "a beautiful, touching memorial for everyone to remember where they were and how they felt and the unity and tragedy that 9/11 created for us."

The event will also include a performance from the John Davidson Fine Arts Magnet School Jazz Band and the AU ROTC Honor Guards will present the colors and perform a ceremonial bell ringing at 8:46 a.m., which is when the 5K will begin. “That time on that day is frozen in time," Ryan says. "So come here and let’s do it together. Let’s be united like we were on September 12 just for a couple of hours. And maybe that will plant the seed for continued healing in our country.”

Columbia County is holding a day of remembrance at the Columbia County Amphitheater at 6:45 p.m. featuring the Columbia County Ballet. “With it being the 20th anniversary we knew we wanted to do something different – something we hadn’t done before," says Cassidy Harris, Columbia County's Public Relations Manager. “We saw it as an opportunity to offer something free to the public that gave a different perspective of that day.”

Columbia County Ballet owner Ron Jones says dancers will be performing a series of dances called "Freedom," which were choreographed by a former student. “There are about 50 dancers in it and they range from ages 10-20," he says. "There are different scenes that show different attitudes and memories of this whole situation that people went through – what they’re still going through, people that have lost loved ones.”

Fort Gordon is holding a remembrance ceremony at Barton Field at 8:30 a.m. with Brig. Gen. Paul T. Stanton, Cyber Center of Excellence and Fort Gordon commanding general will be the keynote speaker. The Augusta Greenjackets are also taking on the Columbia Fireflies at 6:05 p.m. SRP Park with a fireworks show. 

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