"This ceremony is more than just a remembrance of the past...it is a tribute to the living," said Gov. Hickenlooper, taking time to honor the first responders who displayed heroic efforts to save lives on Sept. 11, 2001. As Colorado and the nation reflects on the events of 9/11, "let us also recognize our humanity in the face of the attack, and our country's unwavering will to prevail," continued Hickenlooper.
Meanwhile, Mayor Hancock said the day calls for "deep reflection and commemoration." Hancock also said he accepted artifacts from 9/11 that will be displayed at The Counterterrorism Education Learning Lab (The CELL) in Denver. The nonprofit institution located near the Denver Art Museum at 99 West 12th Ave. will display the artifacts as part of their exhibit on terrorism. "These artifacts also stand as a stark reminder to Colorado and to Denver...to keep our community safe and secure," said Hancock.
The ceremony included an invocation by members of the clergy, as well as a moment of silence for the victims of the attacks at around 1:30 p.m. The names of the victims were displayed on several projection screens set up in front of the City & County Building.
The Colorado National Guard also offered a 21-gun salute, startling the birds roosting at the City & County Building -- as well as some small children in the audience. A military flyover of fighter jets in the skies above Civic Center Park continued the ceremony, which concluded with a benediction and retiring of the colors.
Senators Mark Udall, D-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., also spoke on the importance of unity in the post-9/11 world. "We're not here as members of the red team or members of the blue team," said Udall to cheers from the audience. "We're here as members of the red, white and blue team."
Colorado Remembers 9/11 also attracted some protestors who carried signs in the back of the crowd. One banner read "9/11 was an inside job!" and other protestors circulated with posters suggesting the attack was part of a planned demolition.
Enterprising street vendors also sold American flags and inflatable hammers emblazoned with "USA," while food trucks parked in Civic Center Park offered barbeque sandwiches, ice cream and other delicacies to the crowd. A beer garden opened at 2 p.m. after the conclusion of the official ceremony.
However, at the end of the day, the memorial served to honor the victims of the terrorist attacks, including the first responders who lost their lives while saving others in New York and across the country. "We honor their memory, and the memory of all those who lost lives on that tragic day," said Bennet.