Toddville American Legion hosts Sept. 11 ceremony Sunday

Event aims to remember victims, unite community

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TODDVILLE — A bell is to ring in the small, Linn County community of Toddville on Sunday to remember those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Yon Abel, commander at Toddville American Legion Post 674, said moments of silence are to be observed as the bell — on loan from the Cedar Rapids Fire Department — is rung at 8:45 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:43 a.m. and 10:10 a.m. — the times four airplanes, hijacked by terrorists, crashed on Sept. 11, 2001 — two into the World Trade Center’s twin towers in Manhattan, one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and a fourth in a Pennsylvania field.

The observances are part of an event scheduled form 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday to commemorate the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks. It’s also a way to bring the community together.

“A lot of our members are World War II, Korean or Vietnam veterans. We’re trying to re-establish the sense of community,” Abel said. “We’re trying to get these people that served and continue to serve more visibility.”

Brunch is to be served at American Legion Post 674 during the event and a special ceremony takes place at noon. Iowa Sen. Liz Mathis and Linn County Supervisor John Harris plan to join community club members and fire department officials from across Linn County in speaking during the ceremony.

The public is invited to attend.

Abel, who deployed to Iraq twice with the Army National Guard and now serves as a Linn County sheriff’s deputy, said he understands the importance of recognizing those who serve their communities and those who made the ultimate sacrifice on Sept. 11.

“This program is going to recognize everybody that’s served, not just veterans, also our EMS, firefighters, paramedics,” he said. “This is another way to let these people that do serve know that they’re appreciated. It’s not always a thankful job. We don’t do the job because we expect (recognition), but it is nice to know.”

Abel described the Sept. 11 attacks as a defining moment in history.

“I remember our parents talking about JFK, remembering where they were when he had been shot,” Abel said. “(Sept. 11) was that moment for me in this generation, for many generations.”

He hopes Sunday’s event unites residents across Linn County, especially in Toddville.

“We’re a small, rural Legion post,” he said. “Toddville is a little hamlet outside Cedar Rapids. We have events like this to help bring this town together, meet your neighbor.”

With Sunday being the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, Abel said the Legion’s event keeps the memories of that day alive.

“The whole point is don’t forget,” he said. “You don’t want to relive lessons twice. We realized that we are a community, locally, statewide, nationally. We need to be a community, be together and just remember there are people out their looking out for us every day.”

If you go

What: Sept. 11 ceremony

When: Sunday, Sept. 11. Brunch is served from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. A ceremony begins at noon. Bell ringing and moments of silence take place at 8:45 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:43 a.m. and 10 a.m.

Where: Toddville American Legion Post 674, 3275 Otter Road, Toddville

Cost: Tickets for brunch are $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 6-12 and free for kids 5 and younger. Advance tickets, from Toddville American Legion members are $8. Brunch includes pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage or ham, milk and coffee.

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