State Historical Society celebrates 20th anniversary of September 11 attacks



Part of the exhibition at the State Historical Museum. (Photo by the State Historical Society.)

The State Historical Society of Iowa will mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks with a ringing ceremony outside the State Capitol in Des Moines on Saturday.

Historical Society state curator Leo Landis said they would use the five-five-five ringing protocol used for firefighters who died on duty. “We will start Saturday morning at 7.46 am with the ringing of the bell – 7.46 am Iowa time is when the first attack was against the North Tower of New York. We will have a public program at 8:45 am if anyone wants to join us, â€he said.

The Iowa State Historical Museum has an exhibit that commemorates those who died in the attacks. The exhibit also pays tribute to the service of Iowa City firefighter Glenn Pauley, who befriended members of Rescue Company 4 in Queens in 1999.
“When the attacks took place he was able to get time off from his supervisor and, along with another firefighter, they went to New York and worked three days in rescue and recovery. Glenn, again, knew the men from the Number Four Rescue Company and was able to help at the site, â€Landis said.

Landis says they put on display the equipment Pauley received from the New York firefighters after he helped them. “When he returned he stored it for a number of years and then donated it to the State Historical Museum a few years ago,†according to Landis. “And we wanted to tell his story – but also remind the Iowans that there are firefighters all over the state who are also doing a great job here, so focusing on the 9/11 attacks, but also honoring the service of all first responders. “

Landis says it’s been a day of heartbreak and anger for many – and he says it’s important to highlight the people who have worked throughout that day. “Our wish at the Historical Society is to tell stories of overcoming tragedies. And Patriot Day – which is what 9/11 is now – is a day of remembrance and service, â€he says. “We wanted to share the story of 9/11 with people who were not alive at the time, or who were too young to remember the attack.”

The Iowa State Historical Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday so you can view the commemorative exhibits. The September 11 documents will remain on display until the end of the year. The museum is regularly open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and you can find out more at


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