Kewaskum 9/11 ceremony, Pentagon attack survivor speaks

A survivor of the Sept. 11 terror attacks spoke during a ceremony on the anniversary of the tragedy Sunday, Sept. 11 in Kewaskum. 

Twenty-one years doesn't feel like more than two decades for Lisa Burgess. 

"I cry every time," said Lisa Burgess. "I just – it never stops hurting."

Burgess, a former member of the Pentagon Press Corps and combat reporter, was at the Pentagon during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Lisa Burgess

"It’s loud," said Burgess. "You can hear the flames. The smoke is just pouring out of this building."

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On Sept. 11, 2001, nearly 3,000 people were killed as 19 al-Qaida hijackers seized control of four jetliners, sending two of the planes into New York’s World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the fourth into a field in western Pennsylvania. At the Pentagon, 184 people who died as victims in the building and on American Airlines Flight 77 during the Sept. 11 attacks.

Burgess shared her first-hand account of a day so many remember.

"It was like, a tsunami of heroes," said Burgess.

Burgess spoke at the Wisconsin 9/11 Memorial and Education Center in Kewaskum Sunday, Sept. 11, 2022. Of the 2,977 victims killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, 415 were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center. Burgess spoke of the first responders who helped in the moments, days and weeks after the attacks.

"It was a wave of people who didn’t want to run away," said Burgess. "They wanted to get in there and help. That’s the best of us. That’s who America really is, and I really wish we showed that more often now."

At the center of the memorial is a steel beam from the North Tower of the World Trade Center.  

The gray and rainy weather matched the emotions of those visiting it Sunday – a contrast to the crisp, blue skies over New York City on Sept. 11, 2001.

"It’s almost like, a scab that gets reopened every year, but at the same point, it is somewhat, hopefully, therapeutic and healing," said Chad Henneberry, whose wife lost her father, a firefighter, in the attacks. 

From those who lost a loved one to survivors and even those who are learning about what happened in September 2001, the terror attacks of 9/11 have not and will not be forgotten.

Survivors and victims' families think about that day every single day, and that’s why they want people to remember what happened more often than just on the anniversary.