20 Years Later: Gov. DeWine reflects on tragedy of 9/11

COLUMBUS — The Miami Valley is already observing the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pa. From the University to Dayton campus to multiple communities, people are remembering the terror attacks and the lasting impacts it had on daily life.

News Center 7′s Jim Otte talked one-on-one with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine who was a U.S. Senator in Washington at the time of the attacks.

When the terrorists attached in New York City, DeWine said he remembers he was in a meeting when the first plane hit the World Trade Center and then turned on the TV to find out what was happening.

>> 20 years later: 9/11 remembered

“We literally watched it live when the second plane hit and then we figured out this was not an accident. This is something else going on,” DeWine said.

When a third plane hit the Pentagon, DeWine evacuate this staff to safety.

He said, “I told our team just go and get as fast as you can away from the Capitol and walk directly away from the Capitol because that is an obvious target.”

The plane destined for the Capitol was forced down by heroic passengers in Pennsylvania.

Now, 20 years later, the nation is mourning the victims in all kinds of ways, including a ceremony where 2,977 flags were placed on the lawn of the statehouse – one for each victim.

Gov. DeWine joined the dozens of volunteers and planed a flag in the field of red, white and blue. Row by row, local firefighters and some volunteer families stepped up to plan a flag and think for a moment in silence.

During the interview, Gov. DeWine said the events of that day, 20 years ago, hit home for him. He said his state director’s brother died in one of the towers in New York City.

And, today, he’s thinking of the families that lost loved one in the military who died in Afghanistan.

>> UD remembers victims of 9/11 with flag display campus

Gov. DeWine said, “If I could talk directly to them. I went to a number of the funerals – is that your son, your daughter to protect us? Because Afghanistan was the sanctuary for the terrorists.”

Gov. DeWine said even though division continue today over other issues, such as COVID—19, he still thinks the nation can came together when it needs to.

“Whether we wear a mask or get a vaccine and all of these things I think we need to work through, remember we have much more in common that pulls us together than pulls us apart. Twenty years ago, we had an enemy. We came together and rallied together.”

Now, a new generation is honoring the victims of terror. They’re too young to remember the attacks themselves but could benefit from some of the lessons we learned as a nation.

The flags will be here through the weekend as other communities in the Miami Valley and across the state hold their own 9/11 memorials.

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