Thousands of Flags Line Gray’s Lake to Remember Victims of 9/11 Attack

DES MOINES, Iowa — Volunteers put 2,977 flags into the ground at Gray’s Lake to remember each life lost on September 11, 2001.

United States Air Force Staff Sergeant Justine Peichoto said she was only 11-years-old when the terrorist attack happened, but it is something she will never forget.

“Because of how big of a deal it was at the time, it was life changing. I mean even for me being 11-years-old, I remember that and I just think of ‘God Bless the USA,’ the song. It kind of keeps us grounded to remember events like that and things that happened. It’s things like this and days like September 11 that help us remember why we should be thankful for what we have,” Peichoto said.

Peichoto said a large visual representation like this reminds others it’s important to remember what happened.

The flags will stay up until Tuesday morning and are located between the lake and Fleur Dr. for anyone to stop by and reflect.

These flags are not the only visual remembrance of that day, the Ankeny Fire Department held a ceremony Monday at 8:30 a.m. at fire station #1. The timing of the ceremony was in sync with the events that happened on that day in 2001.

Deputy Chief Frank Powant said the Ankeny Fire Department had a special tie to some of the first responders that lost their lives in the attack.

“The Ankeny Fire Department had a personal connection with some New York firefighters that rode for years on RAGBRAI in the late 1990’s and early 2000. In fact one of those firefighters did perish at 9/11 who was on that ride,” Powant said.

A March to the Capitol started at 9:11 a.m. at Centennial Park in Waukee and will end at the Capitol building.

Governor Kim Reynolds ordered flags to fly at half-staff at public buildings on Monday from sunrise to sunset.