Naperville Commemorates 9/11 Anniversary at Shanower Memorial

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Songs and speeches rang through the air at the Shanower Memorial on the Riverwalk as Naperville commemorated the 18th anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Naperville Remembers

The memorial was one of the first 9/11 monuments in the country, dedicated on September 11, 2003. It is named after Naperville native Commander Dan Shanower, who was killed in the Pentagon attack.

The service’s featured speaker, Chuck Johanns, told the story of how Naperville rallied after learning of Commander Shanower’s death.

“The idea rapidly grew into a memorial for Dan and all the other casualties of the terrorist attacks. The creation of a lasting reminder of a dark page in the history of our nation and our city,” said Johanns. “In the best tradition of grassroots democracy, an informal committee of citizens came together to make the concept a reality.”

A New Generation

People of all ages came out to witness the ceremony.

Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis discussed the importance of young people in carrying on the memory of that tragic day.

“The importance of remembering what 9/11 was all about – not for the tragedy, but more for the way it brought our nation together,” said Puknaitis. “Many of you remember that after 9/11 we really came together as a country, as a people, as a community. We put all our differences aside, and we came together as one.”

A Moving Tribute

Shanower’s mother, Pat, attended the ceremony and laid a wreath of flowers at the monument with the help of police and fire officials.

She echoed Puknaitis’ thoughts that young people have lessons they can take from the events of that day.

“I think I would want them to remember that people give their lives for others and that they then have a responsibility to do something worthwhile with their own lives,” she said.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.