Five hundred chairs were set up across from Sandy City Hall for a memorial service commemorating the nearly 3,000 people who died 18 years ago.
Those chairs quickly filled up, with hundreds more standing behind to attend a service honoring those who died on Sept. 11, 2001, as well as fallen Utah heroes.
For the past 18 years, thousands of American flags have been displayed on the Sandy City Promenade on Sept. 11, each attached with the name of a person who died in the terrorist attacks.
The Utah Healing Field, as it is now known, is also used as a platform to raise funds for charities, including this year’s beneficiary, Honor 365, an organization that offers programs for veterans supporting education, employment, healthcare and housing.
Honor 365 honored six Utahns as part of the ceremony, including fallen Provo master officer Joseph Shinners and Utah National Guard Major Brent Taylor.
Provo Police Officer Joseph Shinners, 29, was shot and killed in Orem in January while trying to apprehend a wanted fugitive near a shopping center.
Taylor was the North Ogden Mayor killed in the line of duty while serving with the Utah Army National Guard in Afghanistan in November.
The other honorees were Col. Robert Adams, Sgt. First Class Elliott Robbins, South Salt Lake Officer David Romrell and Draper fire marshal Bryan Thatcher.
Romrell was killed in the line of duty in November.
Provo Police Chief Rich Ferguson escorted Shinners’ widow, Kaylyn Shinners, who is due with their second child in a few weeks, up to receive the recognition.
“Joe Shinners and every single first responder who has been killed in the line of duty since then have gone to work just like (9/11 responders) did that morning,” Ferguson said. “With the belief they would come home, but with the reality they may not. And he didn’t.”
Ferguson said first responders like Shinners go to work every day with one goal: to protect others.
“They don’t go to work with the goal of themselves,” Ferguson said. “They go for selfless service. We have to remember that as community and society.”
Of the 2,977 people victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, 411 were emergency workers, 343 were firefighters, and 60 were police officers.
Ferguson said he is thankful to live in a community where first responders are valued.
“These events mean a lot to us, and it should mean a lot to every citizen,” Ferguson said.
Sandy Mayor Kurt Bradburn said he had a hard time concentrating today looking out from the window of his office and seeing the flags commemorating those who had lost their lives, and thanked those who put their lives on the line to protect others.
“Most days I don’t understand how you guys do what you do, but I’m so grateful that you do,” Bradburn said. “And that goes for all of our service men and women, for all those who strive to protect us every day.”