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9/11 Survivor Speaks At Memorial In Naperville

Naperville residents place their hands over their hearts during a ceremony to honor the victims of 9/11 on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, at a memorial dedicated to a local Navy officer who was killed in the attack on the Pentagon. (Credit: CBS)

Naperville residents place their hands over their hearts during a ceremony to honor the victims of 9/11 on the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks, at a memorial dedicated to a local Navy officer who was killed in the attack on the Pentagon. (Credit: CBS)

Mike Parker Mike Parker
Mike Parker has been a general assignment reporter for CBS 2 Chicago...
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NAPERVILLE, Ill. (CBS) – For years, west suburban Naperville has hosted a 9/11 commemoration on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. This year was no different, although the crowd heard from a survivor of the Trade Center attack.

CBS 2’s Mike Parker reports hundreds gathered along the Naperville riverwalk Tuesday afternoon, to do in what millions all over this nation did — remember the thousands of victims of 9/11.

Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts served as hosts at the emotional event.

Assistant Scoutmaster Gary Vician said, even though the youngsters are too young to remember 9/11, “They do see and hear the stories and they are learning about it. I think it’s a lifelong process.”

The ceremony was held at the memorial built in memory of U.S. Navy Cmdr. Dan Shanower, a Naperville resident and naval intelligence officer who was killed in the attack on the Pentagon.

Local resident Dave Halleck said, “I think about all the families that have lost loved ones that are still grieving for them.”

That would include Donald and Patricia Shanower, the officer’s father and mother – who came to Tuesday’s ceremony.

Joe Dittmar, an insurance executive who survived the World Trade Center attack, also attended the memorial. He was evacuated from Building 2, just before it was destroyed by the second jetliner.

He recalled firefighters heading into the inferno, “to fight a fire that they could not beat, to try to save lives that they couldn’t possibly save, all the while knowing as they were going up stairs they would never, never descend.”

Dittmar said he saw the “epitome” of human service and bravery in the eyes of the firefighters, police officers, and other first responders that day.