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Havelock and New Bern pay tribute to 9/11 victims, heroes

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HAVELOCK, N.C. -

Communities are coming together across the East to reflect on one of our nation's greatest tragedies.

Nearly three thousand people died twelve years ago on the September 11 attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.

A minute of silence in Havelock marked the moment when our nation's history changed forever.

Hundreds of people at the 9/11 memorial there paused at the exact time when the first hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center in New York City. The centerpiece of Havelock's 9/11 memorial is a cross shaped using two beams recovered from the Twin Towers.

"Everybody was pretty frightened. Even the people who weren't there were pretty frightened about what was going to go," said George Cook, a Havelock resident.

Police and firefighters reflecting on the tragedy remembered where they were that day. For many of these children, 9/11 was before their time. But they paid homage to the victims with song.

"It's important to remember because all those people who lost their lives," said 10-year-old Jacob Gray.

Among those who lost their lives were 340 firefighters and 60 police officers who died responding to 9/11.

"We travel differently, we act differently. We're more vigilant about our surroundings, just because we don't know," said New Bern alderman Sabrina Bengel of the first ward.

At the New Bern fire station on Neuse Boulevard, first responders honored the memory of those in New York who paid the ultimate sacrifice.

Aldermen Bengel lost two of her high school friends on 9/11.

"We go about our daily lives but every September 11, we are drawn back to this and I don't think it gets any easier," said Bengel.

Despite the tragedy, the loss of life brought families and communities closer together and appreciate life and freedom even more.

"The way I think about freedom and just every day, how I wake up and hold my little daughter, appreciate my family, and just glad to be on earth at this time," said Gregory Smith of New Bern.

Local churches, including Trinity United Methodist Church and St. Andrew Lutheran Church, teamed up to give a free lunch on September 11 to New Bern's first responders in appreciation for their service.

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