By Raiza Giorgi

Those who were alive and conscious will remember exactly where they were on the morning of September 11, 2001. For me, I was a freshman in college and awoken to the news that a plane crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center buildings. I remember watching the smoke plumes and then screaming when I saw the second plane hit the second tower. 

Watching for hours as people tried to rescue those trapped, watching others jump out of their windows and then in utter horror as both towers came crashing down. 

Twenty years have passed since that day, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. Each year I make sure to watch as the names are read and moments of silence are broadcasted because I never want to forget. I hope in the days surrounding this year, we can come together as we did in the days and months after 9/11 and remember we are Americans first above all else, and show each other compassion and understanding. 

This year the National September 11 Memorial and Museum will lead the nation to mark the passing and read the names of those we lost by family members of the fallen. There will be six moments of silence, marking when the towers were struck and fell, as well as the attacks on the Pentagon and the crash of Flight 93. 

Photo by Jim Lee for the 9/11 Memorial and Museum – The National September 11 Memorial and Museum has on display many artifacts from the 9/11 tragedy like this fire truck.

The program will start at 8:30 a.m. EST and the first moment of silence will begin at 8:36 a.m. EST. The program will conclude at 1 p.m. EST and at sundown the annual “Tribute in Light” will light the sky. 

“Once a year, every year, for four hours family members and their guests have an opportunity to come to the 9/11 Memorial plaza and mourn together. Forty percent of the families of those killed at the World Trade Center have received no remains of their loved ones – the Memorial serves as a cemetery for them – the only place to grieve for their loved ones,” said Alice Greenwald, 9/11 Memorial and Museum CEO. 

Locally there will be a ceremony at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, in the sunken gardens at the Santa Barbara Superior Court, 1100 Anacapa Street, and hosted by Teen Court of Santa Barbara County. 

“This was an honor given to us as we were one of 60 courts across America selected to host this event. We were also given 50 names of victims to read during the remembrance ceremony,” said Eduardo Cue, program manager for Teen Court of Santa Barbara County. 

UCSB Detective Kovina Avila will be singing the National Anthem and there will be a multi-agency law enforcement color guard to raise the American Flag as well as a 9/11 Flag of Honor with the names of all the victims from the towers, the Pentagon and Flight 93. 

Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Thomas Adams will be moderating the event.