Library hosts 20th anniversary of 9/11 reception

Published 1:21 am Friday, September 17, 2021

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

The Luverne Public Library hosted a reception to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, and to honor past and present first responders, military members, and law enforcement.

The reception was held in the library’s conference room on Sept. 10. A wide array of food was served to the attendees, including a red, white, and blue cake with “heroes respond first” written on it, made by Ramey’s. A patriotic flower arrangement, donated by Michelle’s Flowers, adorned the center of the table.

Kathryn Tomlin, library director, organized the event that ran from 2-4 p.m. Members of first responder groups, local fire departments, rescue squads, and various law enforcement agencies across the county stopped in throughout the afternoon.

“We just wanted to recognize our military, first responders, and those that keep us safe. The 20th anniversary of 9/11 is the perfect time to do so. We want them to know that we appreciate all they have done and all they do,” Tomlin said.

“Even after 20 years I can barely stand it. It is so hard to watch videos or see pictures or even think about everything that happened that day,” she said.

Tomlin expressed her pride in the library’s participation in the educational exhibition, September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World. The exhibit presents the history of 9/11, its origins, and its ongoing implications through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks. Told across 14 posters, the exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the Museum’s permanent collection. It explores the consequences of terrorism on individual lives and communities at the local, national, and international levels, and encourages critical thinking about the legacies of 9/11.

The poster exhibition was developed by the 9/11 Memorial & Museum and has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Democracy Demands Wisdom.

The exhibit will be on display until Sept 17.

Captain Mason Adcock, who serves as the assistant chief of the Luverne Police Department, said that 9/11 was the catalyst for his career in law enforcement.

“9/11 is literally why I got into law enforcement. Just standing around, not taking action was not an option. I had to do something, so in October of 2001, I got my feet wet as a correctional officer. I wanted to do something to help protect our nation. I knew it would take a little while to work my way up to doing that in a hands-on kind of way, but now I feel as if I am doing at least a small part to keep this great country safe,” Adcock said.

Sergeant Kevin Bowen of the Luverne Police Department was in elementary school when 9/11 happened. Even at a young age, Sergeant Bowen knew that he too would have to take part in keeping his country secure.

“I was only in fifth grade, but I knew I had to do something to keep this from happening again. I joined the Air National Guard as soon as I could. January will make 13 years I have been with the guard,” Sergeant Bowen said.

Of the 2,997 victims who were killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, more than 400 were first responders. It was those first responders that ran towards danger to help their fellow Americans. Helping fellow Americans, by being selfless and brave, is what each attendee honored at the luncheon strives to do.

Our nation was devastated and forever changed on that day 20 years ago. The course of history was perpetually altered. Despite the unprecedented destruction and rampage, our nation displayed resilience, inconceivable strength, and unity. The harmony among Americans that was witnessed during the early days after 9/11, is something that we should all strive to get back to.