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Community to Mark 10th Anniversary of 9/11 at Memorial

The event will be held at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Cmdr. Dan Shanower Memorial.

The Naperville community will come together to reflect and remember at a ceremony commemorating the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Members of the Naperville Exchange Club have been busy planning the annual event, which will be at 1 p.m. Sunday at the Cmdr. Dan Shanower — 9/11 Memorial, located adjacent to the city of . Shanower, a Naperville native and Navy officer, was among the 189 people who died in the attack on the Pentagon.

The event will be a solemn reminder that 10 years have passed since a handful of terrorists hijacked four jetliners and used them as missiles — two struck the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York; a third struck the Pentagon; and the fourth crashed into a rural Pennsylvania field when the passengers fought back against the hijackers. Authorities believe that jet’s intended target may have been the U.S. Capitol or the White House.

While community members will gather and reflect, there is a new addition to the annual memorial. This year, two searchlights have been temporarily installed that will be beaming into the night’s sky from dusk until 11 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, said Marty Walker, the committee chairman for the Naperville Exchange Club’s Americanism Committee. The beams of light will represent the Twin Towers.

On Sunday, the Exchange Club will host a flag-raising ceremony along Jackson Avenue. The will ring its bells at 12:30 p.m. and the will begin playing at 12:45 p.m.

“There will be a dozen white doves released when the band plays taps,” Walker said.

The and departments, American Legion Post 43 and will lead the presentation of colors.

Eimile Malmgren, the daughter of Naperville firefighter Bill Malmgren, will sing the national anthem, while the Shanower family’s minister, pastor Mark Jacobs of , will lead the invocation. 

Retired Rear Adm. Richard Porterfield will be the keynote speaker. He was Shanower’s commanding officer at the Pentagon.

Along with members of the Shanower family, members of six Gold Star families who have lost a loved one in military service will attend the memorial.

“We put a lot of effort into this,” Walker said. “It’s going to be beautiful.”

History behind the memorial

Emy Trotz, past president for the Naperville Exchange Club, said that after the attacks, the Shanower Commission formed with the goal of building a memorial to Dan Shanower along the Naperville Riverwalk.

Mayor George Pradel started the commission along with friends of the Shanower family. Their goal was to raise $300,000 through local charitable organizations and contributors to construct the memorial, according to Walker, the Exchange Club’s Americanism Committee chairman.

Once the money was raised, Walker said the commission hired architects and created the wall that is directly behind the memorial. , a retired Naperville firefighter who helped at Ground Zero, was responsible for getting the I-beam from the World Trade Center.

The memorial also includes fragments from the Pentagon, granite from the area where United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, and Dan Shanower’s boot print.

A “Wall of Faces” behind the beam was inspired by Naperville schoolchildren who drew pictures of faces to represent the people who died on 9/11. The 140 faces were molded into a 48-foot wall with an eternal flame built by artist Bill Cooper.

The memorial also has two stones — one bears an explanation of the memorial’s significance, the other inscribed with Dan Shanower’s biography. A bench saying “Freedom Isn’t Free,” a phrase Dan Shanower used in an essay to commemorate four fallen shipmates, is to the left of the memorial.

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