Across the nation and here in Acadiana, memorials are taking pace in remembrance of the 9-11 terror attacks 19 years ago.
Following a moment of silence at Parc San Souci, the Lafayette Fire Department Honor Guard exchanged the American flag with one that flew over the USS Arlington.
The service was emotional for first responders and the small crowd gathered at the memorial in Downtown Lafayette.
"Freedom is not free," said Lafayette Fire Chief Robert Benoit. "A lot of people lost their lives to keep us free and to give us an opportunity to have a good life in this country. We're just thankful we have people who took care of us by risking their lives to save this country to save people."
Benoit says 9-11 took a toll on his department and his crew realizes the terror attacks could have happened anywhere.
"We also brought in a lot of firefighters from New York and took care of some of them and their families over here. They made some long lasting friends and they're still communicating with them. All of those things together gave us an opportunity to mourn and grieve their loss, but at the same time heal and remember," Benoit said.
This year's memorial looked a bit different because of COVID-19 precautions.
At UL, the service was virtual.
A small group gathered at the Pentagon memorial on the Alumni Center grounds and honored two UL alumni killed in the September 11 attacks.
Roy White, Vice-President of UL's Student Veteran organization said, "We weren't able to have as big of a gathering as we'd like so we streamed the event on Facebook live."
Across Acadiana, the message remains "never forget."
Benoit said, "So when people are at home tonight on their knees, I hope they pray for the military to keep those individuals safe across the world and that the flag represents that symbol. Freedom isn't free, and it cost tremendously for some individuals to keep this country free."
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