CHICAGO (CBS) — In Naperville, the community once again came together to honor its own 9/11 hero, along with all of the victims of September 11th’s terrorist attacks.

CBS 2’s Roseanne Tellez was there for the somber ceremony.

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“We must remember the words of the late Cmdr. Dan Shanower — ‘freedom isn’t free,'” said Marty Walker, who’s with the Exchange Club of Naperville, a non-profit organization.

In fact, Shanower, a Navy commander who grew up in Naperville, gave his life on 9/11 as he rushed into action at the Pentagon after the World Trade Center towers were struck.

His mother Patricia, who laid a wreath at his memorial on Monday, says the pain doesn’t go away.

“I’ve been buoyed by the support that this community has given me, as well as my family,” she said.

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Patricia added that while the support remains strong, she still questions the current unity of the country.

“I would like to say that we are as united as we were after 9/11, when the whole country came together, but obviously we’re not. That’s something that I would long for.”

Yet speaker after speaker recalled the response to the attack as one of America’s finest moments.

Lanny Russell, the former DeKalb Fire Chief, said, “No matter what the terrorists threw at America, she responded with heroism and compassion. It’s the American way.”

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This year’s 16th anniversary of the attacks were held at the Cmdr. Dan Shanower Memorial, 400 S. Eagle St., along the Riverwalk.