R.I. holds 9/11 memorial service at State House

A State Police color guard participates in a 9-11 memorial ceremony on September 11, 2016. (WPRI)

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Hundreds gathered at the State House in Providence Sunday to mark the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

Elected leaders, police and firefighters were on hand for the ceremony, which included ringing a bell at the moment the hijacked airliners crashed and when the Twin Towers collapsed in New York City.

Three thousand people died in the attacks, in which Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four airliners, crashing two into the Twin Towers and one into the Pentagon; a fourth plane intended for the White House crashed in a field in Pennsylvania when the passengers fought back against the hijackers.

Seven Rhode Islanders died that day, and their families attended Sunday’s somber service.

“It makes it a little bit easier because everyone can come together and kind of reminiscence and kind of have a shoulder to lean on,” Matthew Newell said. His mother was aboard American Airlines Flight 11 when it crashed in New York. He was in the fourth grade.

“It was the worst day we’d ever seen,” said Colonel Steven O’Donnell, Superintendent of the State Police, “but it brought out the best in America.”

Eyewitness News anchor Mike Montecalvo served as the master of ceremonies.

Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed also issued a statement to commecommemorate.

“9/11 touched us all.  We remember the victims and honor the sacrifices of our first responders and ordinary Americans who showed great courage and compassion,” he said. “But remembrance alone is not sufficient.  We must commit ourselves to the great task of creating a more just and decent world.  A world where hope will overcome the hatred that was so manifest on that terrible day.”

Many other local remembrances were held elsewhere around the state and in nearby Southeastern Massachusetts.

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