First responders in Jefferson County remember 9/11 - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

First responders in Jefferson County remember 9/11

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JEFFERSON COUNTY -- Monday marks the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks that killed thousands in the World Trade Center. 

Monday, first responders and veterans in Jefferson County honored the victims of those attacks by waving flags from every overpass in the county.

A day of appreciation, but more importantly a day of remembrance for Mt.Vernon police officer and Desert Storm veteran Bruce McDonald, who was working when the towers were hit.

"Disbelief, I guess," explained McDonald.

Many remember 9/11 like it was yesterday.

"I was at home with my kids," said Mt. Vernon resident Lydia Emery.

"I was actually on duty here at Mt. Vernon station 2," said Lt. Rob Isaac with the Mt. Vernon Fire Department.

"My son was born on that day, 9/11, 2001, added Mt. Vernon firefighter Scott Pennington.

"We was getting ready to go to Rend Lake fishing," said WWII veteran Louis Nelms.

It's a day many remember, but others don't. 

"These children need to understand what our country stands for and what we fought for that gives them that freedom," said EMT Jerry Grimes.

It's why Mt. Vernon first responders and veterans lined every overpass in the county, waving flags and hands at mostly supportive traffic.

"I think I've only seen one guy give me the finger but everyone else has been good," said McDonald.

As McDonald looks back on the 16th anniversary of 9/11, he hopes what he and others in Jefferson county did brings people together.

"And we need some more of that right now, you know people coming together instead of fighting," added McDonald.

Something he hopes every American can agree on.

Monday's 9/11 remembrance ceremony was organized by HOOAH Deer Hunt for Heroes president Tom Gaither.

He says he wants to thank the more than 30 organizations that came together to make it happen.

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