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Local residents remember September 11

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LAKE COUNTY — Wednesday marks 12 years since a small group of terrorists orchestrated an attack that left 2,996 people from 90 countries dead, the World Trade Center demolished and the Pentagon damaged. 

S&K Technologies CEO Tom Acevedo was in Washington D.C. that day for a meeting with U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye. 

“I remember walking into that meeting and the people there didn’t even know what happened to the Towers yet,” Acevedo said. 

The Pentagon was hit during the meeting and Inouye was escorted away. Acevedo had to find a way to his home in Connecticut. 

“We spent the rest of the day in D.C.,” he said. “The entire city shut down. I’ve been to D.C. many times and that’s the only time I’ve seen it with no cars on the street.” 

By the time planes struck the Pentagon, Acevedo and his wife had already been shaken by the attacks. Their son Jason was in New York City and living near the towers at the time. He and an associate were walking to the stock exchange when the first plane hit the Towers. They thought it was an accident. Once the second plane hit, the associate — who was a native New Yorker — suspected something was wrong and suggested leaving the city. He called his father’s courier business to bring a car. The pair managed to get over the Brooklyn Bridge before the city was shut down. 

The friend who called the car is who answered when Acevedo’s wife called Jason’s cell phone to make sure he was okay. 

“She gets a guy who isn’t Jason and is breathing really hard,” Acevedo said. 

The pair was breathing hard because they were running. Jason spoke with his mother and let her know he was okay. He made it back to Connecticut a day later. Jason is still sometimes affected when he sees low-flying planes, Acevedo said. 

“Thankfully no one in our family was injured,” he said. “It was very, very personal.” 

Each year the family remembers what happened, Acevedo said. 

“We always remember,” he said. “My wife always calls Jason just to talk to him.” 

 Montana is far from the sites where the tragedies occurred and diplomats, families and friends of the victims gather to pay respect on the anniversary. Local residents have their own methods of observing the day and coping with the aftermath. 

Maureen McCrae of Ronan will celebrate her daughter’s 27th birthday this Sept. 11. 

“I just try to make her birthday what it should be and what it is intended to be, McCrae said. 

Despite the personal light-hearted cause for celebration, McCrae said it’s important people remember the attacks. 

“I think it’s kind of opened everybody’s eyes to the potential of all the bad things that can happen, but how soon we forget,” McCrae said. “Even though a lot of people were killed a lot of people tend to forget that. It’s kind of like the Holocaust. A lot of people even today don’t think that it happened. That in itself is scary. Simply because if they don’t think it happened, then it can happen all over again. So if we mark it in a way — I don’t want to say memorialize — but if we mark it as a day of remembrance instead of a holiday, I think it would be a better tribute.”

Curt Coulter of Charlo said he thinks the day should be remembered and that the day impacted his perspective of the world. 

“I feel more threatened,” Coulter said. “I feel like Sept. 11 caught us off guard and a little common sense and courtesy goes a long way toward building the country back.” 

Daniel Thompson of Mission said he doesn’t let the memory of the day impact his day-to-day life. 

“I refuse to let it change my life,” Daniel Thompson of Mission. “The intent was to make us afraid and I refuse to let it do that.”

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