Iowans Pause and Reflect at Gray’s Lake 9/11 Memorial

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- As Iowans enjoyed pristine weather, the reflections didn't only come from the mirror-like water in Gray`s Lake.  "A moment to reflect when you see those flags because it's  sad," said Angelo Gilliam.

Carefully placed early Tuesday morning in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001, it caused many to pause.  "I feel great sadness for all those that lost somebody and had watched it unfold seventeen years ago," said Kathleen Murrin.  In the days and months after the twin towers came crashing down, many believed it built a stronger America in its place.  "It shows the resiliency of our country and really how kindness and unity can bring us all together and make such a big difference," said Azure Christensen, HCI Foundation Executive Director.

HCI Care Services also handed out ice cream and American flags, a small gesture on remembrance day.  "I am proud to be an American citizen," said Gilliam.  As the ice cream bell rang, Kathleen Murrin remembers the phone ring that let her know her younger sister was safe in New York.  "She was in the second tower.  She walked down seventy-four flights of stairs to make it out of there before it collapsed soon after and they got away from there."

2,977 flags represent each person who lost their life during the terrorist attack.  A sobering reflection for many but with a generation born post 9/11, it's also a moment for the future to never forget.  Holly Bonanno a mother of three young children said, "I hope that they learn what people went through and how to get past situations in life when you have hardships and how to grow as a community and togetherness."

A flag and tribute that many hope can bridge the gap.  Murrin said, "I do appreciate the patriotism of reverence and respect for what has come before me and what I hope will be mindful to people who are making decisions about what will come after us."

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