SWLA remembers 9/11

September 11, 2006
Reported by Pam Dixon

Krystal Yates didn't know anyone who was killed in the September 11th attacks, but on this fifth anniversary she was still fighting back tears as she visited the 9-11 memorial near the Lake Charles Civic Center. Yates says, "I'm just out here to remember, not that I ever forgot but just to show my love and I haven't forgotten the families and the horror that it was."

Southwest Louisiana lost two people in the attacks. Their names are etched into a piece of limestone that came from the Pentagon after it was attacked. 33-year-old Russ Keene of Sulphur was working as an investment analyst at the World Trade Center. He was in an elevator when the south tower collapsed. 27-year-old Kevin Yokum of Lake Charles was working at the Pentagon in navy intelligence when a plane slammed into it.

After three years of planning, the 9-11 Memorial was dedicated last year on the fourth anniversary of the attacks. Mayor Randy Roach says, "I think that it's something that we should never forget and that's why as a community really felt that it's important to build a memorial to honor not only the day and not only honor those people who died that day, but also to remember what we are and who we are as a nation and as a people."

In the memorial, you'll find actual beams from the World Trade Center representing the Twin Towers. A path through the reflecting pool allows visitors to walk up to them and touch them.

Bette Talbot of Lake Charles says, "It was still smoking when I went there after and seeing these beams they're such a small piece and yet they look so big here. It's just unbelievable."

Each piece of colored glass in the ribbon of souls that wraps around the memorial represents one of the nearly three thousand lives lost in the attack-- a loss that is still hard to comprehend.

Because of the great loss he still feels, the father of Russ Keene, Russell Keene, declined to go on camera to talk about the fifth anniversary of his son's death. But in an email, he told us he wanted to thank those who have contacted him offering support and not a day goes by that he doesn't miss his son. Russell Keene also said, "Never forget nine-eleven because it changed the world forever. "