September 10, 2021

Never Forget:  Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11

Photo courtesy of Lone Star Flight Museum

Reflecting back on that terrible day in 2001, we each have our own memories and experiences and stories to tell.  We remember exactly where we were and what we were doing when we first heard the news, and the innumerable ways the terrorist attacks impacted us all and forever changed our lives.  Glued to our TV sets for weeks and months after, we witnessed the capacity of mankind to do evil, but also the power we possess to do good, to unite and come together in response to tragedy and to support one another through difficult times.  Reflecting back on that terrible day in 2001, it still gives me chills.

Now 20 years on, I find I’ve gained the added perspective of a parent trying to make this critical event in our history more relatable, more personal to my kids, who weren’t yet born when it happened.  What came to be defined as our post-9/11 world is, in fact, the only world they’ve ever known.  As Americans, and as human beings, I want them to recognize and understand this is part of their story, too.

This morning I had the honor of participating in the opening of a special exhibit at the Lone Star Flight MuseumNever Forget:  Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 is a solemn and poignant remembrance.  It also makes this essential history accessible, in a most tangible way, to kids from across the Houston area who didn’t themselves live through it.  I’ll definitely be going back with my kids so they can experience it.

Surrounded by the names of the 2,977 victims, both civilians and first responders, at the center of the exhibit is an 11-foot section of World Trade Center steel on loan from the City of Bellaire.  The once sturdy and resolute I-beam that now sits splayed and misshapen is a testament to the ferocity and brutality of the attacks, and is equally emblematic of the fragility of human life.  As is the extensive listing of all who lost their lives that fateful day, covering the walls of the gallery.  Together these elements create a uniquely emotional and contemplative space.  It’s simple, yet powerful.

The City of Bellaire is proud to partner with the museum and the exhibit sponsors in bringing the World Trade Center steel to the public.  The City acquired the piece in 2017 as a donation through the generosity of the Rubenstein Family Foundation.  A stakeholder group was established and has been working on a 9/11 memorial to be erected in Bellaire, with private funding.  While that planning has been underway, the steel has been in storage and not on public display as ultimately intended.  So when the opportunity arose for it to be featured at the museum it was an obvious win-win.

The exhibit came together beautifully and it’s our privilege to be a part of it, in honor and remembrance of all who were lost.  And it provides an important service in making real, for the generation that followed, the significance of this moment in our history.  Never Forget:  Commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 9/11 is open now through January 2, and is included in general admission to the museum.