WEST BEND – Americans honored and remembered the men and women who lost their lives 20 years ago in New York City.
On September 11, 2001, a terrorist group named Al Qaeda hijacked and flew four commercial planes, two crashed into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon in Virginia, and the last plane crashed in an empty field in western Pennsylvania. .
In his house on Saturday, Brad Riekkoff was sitting leafing through a photo album. Inside were photos he took in New York City as planes flew through the Twin Towers.
“It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years,” Riekkoff said. “It’s hard to believe time flies so quickly.”
While time may not stand still, these photos have a way to bring it back to a tragic moment.
Riekkof was hoping on a flight from Milwaukee to New York on September 5 to participate in a natural bodybuilding show. He was due to leave town on September 11 at 11 a.m.
However, this did not happen.
“I was chomping on the cheesecake that morning because I had just been on a competitive diet,” said Riekkoff. “It’s the last thing I thought I was going to experience.”
He said they were screaming, people were running, but no one knew where to run and the whole place was chaotic.
“When I hear sirens in a big city ringing from buildings,” he said. “It brings me back there.”
20 years later and the region is no longer chaotic. Ground Zero, as it’s known now, is a place where families come to pay homage to all the lives lost.
“There are a lot of people who left the earth that day,” he said, looking at the photos.
Riekkoff told us he was grateful not only to be here today, but above all to be safe.
But, over time, he said it was these photos he took that reminded him of the day when thousands of lives were lost and the country changed forever.
Through the chaos that followed September 11, 2001, Riekkoff learned a valuable lesson.
“Life is precious, it can change in a second,” he said.
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