Utah marks 9/11 anniversary with events statewide

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — When Margaret Wahlstrom visits Utah schools to talk about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York City, she takes along a small but heavy piece of concrete pulled from the rubble of the toppled World Trade Center. “I like to let them hold it and imagine how strong that building was … all that concrete and steel,” said Wahlstrom, who lost two family members in the attacks. “I tell them a building can be brought down, but what’s not brought down, what’s not destroyed is what’s inside of you and that strength,” she said Friday after a visit to Kaysville Junior High. Wahlstrom’s mother-in-law, Mary Alice Wahlstrom, 75, of Kaysville, and her sister-in-law, Carolyn Beug, 48, of Santa Monica, Calif., were aboard the American Airlines flight that hijackers crashed into the World Trade Center’s north tower. The two women were headed back to Utah after taking Beug’s twin daughters to college in Rhode Island. “It’s so significant that we teach (children) to remember this and that we teach them what it was about,” Wahlstrom said. “I think when you emerge from any kind of tragedy you become a more beautiful person. You learn compassion, you learn to reach out to others and you learn that you are not alone in the sorrow.” Wahlstrom wasn’t alone in her visits to school children on Friday. In Ogden, Camille Howell Mortensen read stories to first- and fifth-graders at Taylor Canyon Elementary and talked about her brother, Brady Howell. A Utah State University graduate, Howell was a 26-year-old civilian working in a Navy intelligence program who was killed when a plane hit the Pentagon. Along with the stories, Mortensen said she read the children a letter her brother wrote to a U.S. president when he was just 9-year-old, stating that he dreamed – planned – to work as a detective someday. “I’m really proud of my brother. He made that goal come true,” Mortensen said. “I really appreciate the chance to reflect on his life and share things about him, but also I wanted to be able to tell (students) that there’s some happy things that came out of this and talk about the firefighters and police who are working to make sure this never happens again.” On Sunday, Mortensen said her family will remember her brother more privately, eating his favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream, watching “Star Wars” and spending time together. Wahlstrom’s family, which includes her seven children and her grandchildren, will also gather on Sunday. They’ll mark the anniversary by watching a special 9/11 memorial broadcast of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir’s “Music and the Spoken Word” – which includes remarks from Wahlstrom’s husband, Norman – and with a family birthday party. Wahlstrom said she’s glad that Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert has joined with President Barack Obama in calling for Sept. 11 to be observed as a national day of service. In the days after the attacks, Wahlstrom said she wrote to then-President George W. Bush, pleading that “Sept. 11 not become a holiday where people go out in their boats and have a family picnic.” If we learn to serve each other, then we won’t have these kind of problems,” Wahlstrom said. Statewide, Utah residents are observing the anniversary in a variety of ways. On Friday, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker was to plant a memorial oak at the north end of Liberty Park’s lake. The planting is intended to mirror the planting of about 400 oaks on the site of Manhattan’s 9/11 Memorial, city officials said. Saturday’s annual Utah Healing Field Memorial display of 3,000 U.S. flags at Sandy’s City Hall will include the dedication of a new monument. The 9-foot-high bronze Hope Rising statue depicts three firefighters raising the flag over Ground Zero. Also in southern Utah’s St. George on Saturday, the Sunriver Meditation Group will dedicate a new labyrinth, with 11 paths away from the center, with a peace walk to honor the victims of 9/11. Early Sunday, the Patriot Guard Rider, a national organization will deliver folded flags of honor to police and fire stations, as well as ambulance services, across Washington County. Also Sunday, sirens and church bells will ring for a full minute in Taylorsville. The 11 a.m. observance is part of the National Moment of Remembrance established by Congress in July. In northern Utah on Sunday evening, an organization of religious and community leaders will host a free concert at Utah State University’s Kent Concert Hall in Logan.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!