POST FALLS - Bill Davis first remembers anger, then came healing and unity.
The Post Falls man and member of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association was among about 175 people who attended a Patriot Day ceremony at the Post Falls City Hall plaza on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"I was with a group of Vietnam veterans the day after the attacks, and us old guys were ready to get back into uniform and pick up our arms," he said. "We were angry, and we're still angry."
But Davis said the tragedy and sacrifices were also a wake-up call. That's why, he said, ceremonies remembering those lost are critical.
"It's a little Americana," he said. "It's what keeps the American spirit alive. We're all advocates for our freedom, and we need these things to remember that.
"9/11 made me more aware of what we have is very precious."
Post Falls' Alexis Curtis became teary-eyed thinking about those who died.
"Children, mothers, fathers, grandparents ... ," she said. "It's still hard for me to imagine that this happened in this country. When I saw it on TV, I thought it was a movie.
"I look at our freedom differently now. A lot of men and women sacrificed their lives to keep this country free."
Members of Post Falls police and Kootenai County Fire and Rescue each rang a bell to honor fallen comrades and to represent each war, including the War on Terror.
The PFPD Honor Guard lowered the American flag to half staff in honor of Patriot Day.
"The turnout today shows that we do not forget and never will the sacrifices of 9/11," Mayor Clay Larkin said.
Coeur d'Alene's Leann Drapeau said we're more aware of the world's situation as a result of 9/11, but said we also can get complacent.
"Anything can happen, but we have to live our lives, not be afraid and trust that God will take care of us," she said. "It makes you appreciate what we have here."
SHAWN GUST/Press Dave Swoboda with the Patriot Guard listens to a ceremony speech.
SHAWN GUST/Press Post Falls city employee Robert Palus participates in a moment of silence while remembering Sept.11.