Lake County events will commemorate 20th anniversary of Sept. 11 attack

‘There are ways that the impact of 9/11 will always be with us’

Throughout Lake County and beyond, the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, will not be forgotten.

It’s a day that likely will and should resonate for all, said those behind area programs and events planned to commemorate the anniversary, including an exhibit at Lake Villa District Library and a Sept. 11 reflection during the Northern Illinois Airshow in Waukegan.

“I think it’s so important just to never forget,” said Nina Kenney, head of communications for the Lake Villa District Library. “There are ways that the impact of 9/11 will always be with us.”

On display throughout September at the library located at 140 N. Munn Road in Lindenhurst, the exhibit ”September 11, 2001: The Day That Changed the World” recounts the events of Sept. 11, 2001, through the personal stories of those who witnessed and survived the attacks.

Told across a 14-panel poster display, the exhibition includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the New York-based 9/11 Memorial and Museum’s permanent collection. It presents the history of 9/11, its origins and ongoing implications and encourages critical thinking about the legacies of the attacks.

As described at, the exhibit has relevance today.

“Whether by volunteering in our local communities, serving our nation in the military, caring for the sick or through other efforts, all of us can help build the world in which we want to live,” the website states. “As we witness history unfolding in our own time, the ways we choose to respond – both large and small – can demonstrate the best of human nature after even the worst of days.”

Lake Villa District Library commemorates Sept. 11, 2001, annually with displays or speakers. When library staff heard of the exhibition and its meaning, they knew they wanted to bring it to Lake County,

“I was young when Sept. 11 happened,” said Annie Tillmann, adult services program specialist. “But there are a lot of parallels between that and what we’re experiencing now with COVID. The aftermath of that will help us in processing what we’re going through now.”

Originally created by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, the Lake Villa District Library display involves self-guided tours during the library’s normal business hours throughout the month of September and related activities.

Family-friendly activities throughout the month fall under the themes of “courage, compassion, resilience and hope.”

Along with adults, children are invited to take part in the activities, such as writing “Dear Hero” letters to community heroes, including first responders and those working at area hospitals.

They’ll also be asked to create paper cranes as symbols of hope and resilience and write messages of hope and resilience on cardboard tree leaves.

The leaves are symbolic of what has become known as the Survivor Tree, the 9/11 Memorial Tree in New York City. The leaves will be added to a collective tree inspired by the Survivor Tree, originally found buried in the rubble at ground zero. Workers rescued the tree and transported it to a park, where it grew from 8 feet to 30 feet, sprouting new branches and flowering in the spring. It was returned to the 9/11 Memorial plaza in 2010.

All library activities are designed to encourage conversation, Kenney said.

“It is important to have these conversations and provide a vehicle to promote these conversations no matter how old you are,” she said.

In connection with the exhibition, the library will host “A South Tower Survivor’s Story: 20 Years Since 9/11” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sept. 15.

Tom Jones of Darien will share a story about his narrow escape from the South Tower of the World Trade Center minutes before it collapsed Sept. 11, 2001. Those interested in attending are asked to register at Participants can either receive a Zoom link for the presentation or watch the Zoom presentation on the big screen at the library.

The library’s Civic Saturday program, scheduled from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 25, will touch on Sept. 11, 2001, with a focus on resilience and hope.

Presented via Zoom to home participants and projected live in the library’s program room, Civic Saturday invites young adults and adults to come together to “be inspired and encouraged to reflect and connect.” It includes poetry, reading of civic texts, songs, a “civic sermon” and the sharing of thoughts and ideas.

To register or for information on all library events, go to

“I think this moment is important for all of us,” Kenney said. “I think this exhibit and these activities are ways to help us process.”

In Waukegan, the 2021 Northern Illinois Airshow is expected to include a flyover at noon on the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attack.

Called the missing man formation, the flyover will include one plane separating from the pack and rising to the heavens. The recognition will be part of the air displays at the Waukegan National Airport.

For information and tickets to the Northern Illinois Airshow, go to