KNOXVILLE — Several hundred people this morning attended a joint city and county memorial event that marked the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"Each of us remembers the anger we felt and the resolve we had on Sept. 11, 2001," said county Mayor Tim Burchett during the 40-minute ceremony on the lawn of the City County Building.
"For those who lost loved ones, though, there was more than anger and resolve. There was a sense of painful and very personal resentment — why would God allow this? Why my son, or my daughter, or my parent?
"While those questions can only be answered by the Lord, we can and should offer our prayers and our shoulders to those who face these questions."
Following the ceremony, three local families that lost friends and relatives planted an Appalachian dogwood tree in honor of their loved ones.
"The grief is not as raw as it was 10 years ago, but there will always be a place in my heart, a hole in my heart, but I believe we'll see him again in Heaven, and we see a lot of him reflected every day in the lives of his children," said Pat Lenoir, whose son Rob died when the World Trade Center Twin Towers collapsed during the attacks in New York.
Knoxville Mayor Daniel Brown and Burchett gave each of the family members a long-stemmed red rose.
County Commissioner Mike Brown also presented the families with an American flag that featured stripes with the names of the 3,000 victims.
"The flag represents all of us and all of those who lost their lives that day," Brown said.