A moving 9/11 ceremony took place at the Capitol in Madison on Sunday. With state officials, members of the military, first responders and families of Wisconsinites who’ve lost their lives in the global war on terror all in attendance, Wisconsin paused to remember the events ten years ago. Major General Donald Dunbar, Adjutant General of the Wisconsin National Guard, was in the Pentagon in Washington when one of the hijacked airliners struck the building. “The terrorists miscalculated grossly,” said Dunbar. “They proved they could sucker punch us. But we’ve responded, and over the past ten years many evil men have been held to account.”
The attacks of 9/11 took the lives of seven Wisconsin natives, and 117 Wisconsin service members have died in the war on terror. Dunbar related some of his experiences with the families of Wisconsin Guard members who died, including a mother who shed a single tear as she was presented the American flag at her son’s funeral. “That tear etched a path on my soul,” said Dunbar. “There are not words adequate to tell these families how grateful we are, and how sorry we are for what they’ve gone through.”
Governor Scott Walker paid tribute to Wisconsin’s first responders and armed forces veterans. Walker also recalled the Friday after the attack when, like people all over the nation, he and his family and neighbors gathered to light candles. “What defines as a country, and defines us a freedom loving people all over the globe, is the unity of purpose that was shown on that Friday night,” said Walker. The Madison ceremony also featured a wreath laying, artifacts from Ground Zero in New York City, and a flyover by the Wisconsin Air National Guard. A large American flag was suspended from Town of Madison and City of Monona fire department aerial trucks on the Capitol Square.