INDIANAPOLIS — Unity is the word that comes to mind for one Indianapolis man when he thinks about the American Flag.
On Saturday, James Clark continued to honor the lives lost on September 11, 2001 by raising a flag over 465 from atop the West 56th Street Bridge.
The difference this year from the last 20? He was not alone.
For the last 20 years, James Clark has stood for 12 hours on this day waving an American flag over I-465. Today was no different.— Nikki DeMentri (@nikkidementri) September 11, 2021
This year, he has company, though. The firefighters with @PikeTwpFire joined him.
Their message to Americans on 9/11: #NeverForget @wrtv pic.twitter.com/mgolrovE3W
Clark began the memorial in his hometown after seeing a man on TV wave a flag that fateful day along the Potomac River.
"I've made a lot of friends and cried a lot of tears with strangers," Clark said. "Some real life heroes over my back came to assist me."
Several Pike Township firefighters, Boone County Sheriff's Deputy Investigators and complete strangers waved flags alongside Clark.
"This is what we need right now in today's times is the unity of the country and for us to come together," Lt. Brad Butler with the Pike Township Fire Department said.
In 2020, Clark missed the tradition as he battled health issues. Now, Pike Township Fire says they will forever be by his side.
"I've teared up a couple times just seeing the love and support we get from the passers," Butler said.
The men and women on the bridge said they came together to honor the 2,996 - including the 343 firefighters - taken from us all that Tuesday morning.
"Everybody's a part of it. Everybody felt it that day," Pike Township Firefighter Angela Highland said.
Those who lost their battles to 9/11-related illnesses in the years since were also remembered.
"One of our firefighters, Miss Jackie ... we lost her to cancer. It's emotional," Butler said.
As time ticks on, these brave men and women want Americans to remember this: Never forget September 11, 2001.
"Just don't forget. Don't forget what these people did," Butler said.