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The culture of commemorations drastically changed as the result of the tragic events of 11 September 2001. On that day, early in the morning, hijackers took control of four commercial airliners to conduct terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. Within a period of one hour, two planes were intentionally crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York city, one into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the fourth into a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after passengers acted in response to this attack. In all, nearly 3,000 people died, including 26 Canadians. Unquestionably, 9/11 changed the spectrum of commemoration within the U.S. and Canada. Within hours of the attacks, temporary memorials were put up in parks, on street corners, and firehouses in New York city. Shortly after, a similar pattern occurred throughout American cities and elsewhere, such as the Embassy of the U.S. in Ottawa, Canada. Canadian citizens also wanted to participate in commemorative activities related to 9/11 and some of the local communities were involved as early as a few days after. For example, one of the earliest dedicated memorials was the planting of a red oak tree "in memory of all those affected by the American tragedy and events of Tuesday September 11, 2001" by the citizens of the city of Brantford, Ontario, on Friday, 14 September 2001. Also, flanking Canada's National Military Cemetery in Ottawa is a memorial Stone dedicated "IN REMEMBRANCE OF THE CANADIANS LOST" during the 11 September 2001 attacks. As shown in the photograph, a tablet identifies the name and year of birth for each of the 26 Canadians killed. The prime minister of Canada and high level officials have often visited this place of memory to pay their respects on the anniversary date.
On this day, 11 September 2021, we commemorate the 20th anniversary of all those who died during the tragic events of 9/11.
André M. Levesque