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Minnesota veterans take to the sky to remember Sept. 11

Alex Jokich
Updated: September 11, 2020 06:39 PM
Created: September 11, 2020 05:47 PM

A group of Minnesota pilots paid tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by taking to the skies over Fort Snelling National Cemetery.

Friday marked the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York City.

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"We lost close to 3,000 Americans and here we are, 19 years later, doesn't seem that long ago," said Dave Schmitz, who participated in the tribute by flying in a Vietnam-era UH-1 Huey helicopter. "It's one of those days we're going to remember and try to pay respects to those Americans that were killed that day."

The flyover included nine vintage aircraft, including World War II planes, a jet and a helicopter.

"It's important for us to do that. We need to honor those who sacrificed," said Jerry Kyser, spokesperson for the flyover. 

Kyser said many of the people involved in the flyover were also veterans, from various veteran military aviation groups, including Honor Flight Twin Cities, the Minnesota Vietnam Veterans Charity and the T-6 Thunder Pilots Association.

Kyser said they chose Fort Snelling National Cemetery for the flyover because Tom Burnett is buried there. Burnett, a Bloomington native, was on Flight 93 and helped lead the charge to take over the plane from the hijackers, stopping it from hitting its intended target, the U.S. Capitol, and instead crashing into a field in Pennsylvania.

Kyser said this is the first time they have done a flyover in Minnesota on 9/11.

"It's emotional," he said. "These men and women gave their lives."

"Kind of chokes you up, something about airplanes flying over," ]Schmitz added.

If you would like to contribute to the veteran's charities behind this effort, click here.


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