Weber County 9/11 event coming together, expected to draw big crowds
OGDEN — Hundreds of volunteers are pooling their efforts to pull together planned commemorative activities to mark the 20th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Organizers, in the meantime, say they are aware of no other initiative in Utah to mark the day to the scale of the plans here. They anticipate potentially big crowds.
“Word is getting out enough that we expect thousands of people,” said Johnny Ferry, co-chair of the initiative, Weber Remembers: The 9/11 Project. The event, to be held on the Weber County Fairgrounds, is set for Sept. 9, 10 and 11.
Jennie Taylor, the other co-chair, said around 3,000 kids are slated to visit the exhibit as part of field trips. They come from schools across Weber County and the rest of the state.
There are other planned 9/11 commemorative activities across Utah, said Ferry, but “nothing like this, for sure.”
As part of efforts to promote the event, Ferry and Taylor traveled Friday to the campus of Ogden-Weber Technical College, addressing students helping with some of the preparatory work. Hundreds of volunteers are aiding with varied facets of the planning, Ferry said, including a contingent of students from the technical school that constructed 283 4-foot by 8-foot wooden frames that will hold some of the materials to be displayed.
On Friday, they assembled some of the frames, which will be used to hold giant-sized photos and video monitors that will be on display at the event.
The Major Brent Taylor Foundation, named for Jennie Taylor’s late husband who was killed in 2018 while serving in Afghanistan with the Utah Army National Guard, is the sponsoring organization for Weber Remembers. Planning efforts have been going on for months and Ferry said one of the big target audiences of the effort is kids — those who weren’t alive when 9/11 occurred.
“Taking you back, because the kids weren’t there,” Ferry said. “My kids didn’t know what it was like in the ’90s … At school, they’re reminded about it, but that’s it.”
But it’s meant for everyone and will be free and open to the public.
Materials to be displayed came from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City, the Smithsonian Institution, news outlets and other sources. Historians from Weber State University and elsewhere also offered their help and expertise.
One of the key elements of Weber Remembers will be an immersive, walk-through exhibit offering up images, video and audio, both from 9/11 and, more generally, the era. Participants will get an idea of what happened and the times surrounding the fateful day.
“You’re going to be immersed,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be very somber and sacred. It’s also intended to be energizing and motivating.”
Representatives from groups “that provide opportunities to serve” will assemble in another building. In one of the outside parking areas, military and other vehicles will be on exhibit.
Volunteers are still needed to help the days of the planned exhibition. For more information go to http://majorbrenttaylor.com/weber-remembers-9-11 or send a query to firstname.lastname@example.org.