Fourteen years and 2,389 miles separate the Flathead Valley from New York City and the events of September 11, 2001. But despite that distance, locals are still gathering this week to remember the attack that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York City and Washington, D.C. and a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans three years ago.
While many will remember the victims of those two events in their own private way, others will be gathering for public memorials. In Kalispell, the Calvary Lutheran Church on U.S. Highway 2 East will be having a worship service to remember the victims starting at 6:30 p.m.
Other remembrances will take place across the region, including at the Ferndale Volunteer Fire Department. In years past, firefighters there have stood guard in front of their fire hall with an American flag throughout the day.
On a national level, the American Red Cross is urging people to donate blood to honor the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. The national blood drive is part of 9/11 Day, which has been designated by Congress as a national day of service.
“This annual observance increasingly resonates with people with each passing year, for the benefit of countless people and communities in need, and that’s surely gratifying,” said Jay S. Winuk, co-founder of 9/11 Day. “Those who participate are making a real difference. The Red Cross is an ideal partner to engage people to step forward, and we’re confident that blood donors, volunteers and organizations will answer this call for help while honoring the heroes of 9/11.”
Two blood drives will take place in the Kalispell area on Friday. The Kalispell Blood Donation Center will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 126 North Meridian Road. A blood drive will also take place at the Super 1 on First Ave East from noon to 4:30 p.m.
An event will also be held at Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge south of Bigfork at a memorial that was dedicated there last year to remember the four Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya in 2012. The monument, located on the Flathead Lake Lodge’s Elk Preserve, remembers U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens, State Department employee Sean Smith, and CIA contractors and retired Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who were all killed at the U.S. consulate.
The memorial event starts at 5:30 p.m. and features three speakers, including a former New York City Police Department lieutenant, a retired U.S. Army major general and a former CIA agent. Immediately after, a dinner is being held to raise money for the DeliverFund, which rescues victims of human trafficking. For more information call (406) 551-3030.
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