The tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, were not forgotten in New Iberia Saturday as a small group of veterans, first responders and local residents commemorated the lives lost 20 years ago.

The ceremony was put on by the Iberia Veterans Association and was accompanied by about 50 people who made the time to observe the 20 year anniversary of 9/11.

“Twenty years ago the United States of America was attacked by Al Qaeda inside of our borders,” master of ceremonies Leslie Landry said. “We chose this day so as to remind us of what happened and honor all who stepped up and came to our aid.”

Landry said the event was meant to not only honor the first responders and military who were present during that historic day, but also the citizens who joined to aid the crisis as well as those “who paid the ultimate price for our freedom.”

Local first responders were given special recognition during the ceremony, and local Scout troops were also on-hand to help with the pledge of allegiance.

“I’m deeply humbled to thank the first responders, these ladies and gentlemen who help make our city, state and country safe,” local veteran and IVA member Johnny Hebert said.

During the ceremony, Hebert recounted the statistics of people who perished during that fateful day 20 years ago. He said a total of 3,058 people died in less than two hours during the terrorist attack, including 2,825 in the World Trade Center towers.

“Of those, 1,106 have never been repatriated or identified,” Hebert said. “In fact this week they were able to identify the remains of two of those people 20 years after they perished.”

The IVA performed several ceremonial acts in order to properly remember the lives lost during 9/11, including the laying of a memorial wreath, the playing of Taps and patriotic music that echoed throughout Bouligny Plaza before and during the ceremony.

Although the ceremonial events put on by the organization are usually attended by city and parish officials, New Iberia Councilwoman Brooke Marcotte was the only public servant who attended the ceremony.

Despite the lower than usual attendance, Hebert thanked all those who “thought enough to be here.”

Members of the New Iberia Fire Department, Iberia Parish Fire District No. 1, New Iberia Police Department and Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office were well represented at the event, however, and even had special seating near the front of the plaza.

The ceremony was in conjunction with several other 9/11 memorial events being put on around Acadiana. The city of Lafayette held its own event and the University of Louisiana at Lafayette memorialized the two former students who were killed during the attack.

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