WILLOWICK, Ohio-- Memories of the lives that were lost on September 11th, 2001, prompted a U.S. Navy veteran to establish a memorial in the front yard of his home in Willowick, that he displays on the anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
It started with a handful of flags and now Bill Sabin has a flag to represent each victim.
Sabin told Fox 8, "to see the country get hurt like that, it really struck a chord with me and for a while there, it was September 11th, you know, I didn't want to do anything, but it's our way of saying we appreciate what you did and we appreciate who you were."
Sabin says he views the terrorist attacks 16 years ago as the modern equivalent of Pearl Harbor, and he is motivated by a strong belief that no American should ever forget what happened. "If we don't remember it and we try to brush it away and forget it ever happened, then eventually we will forget it ever happened," said Sabin.
His memorial on East 326th Street includes a tribute to the first responders who lost their lives on 9-11.
The display has touched the hearts of local police officers and firefighters, many of whom visit the memorial each year on the anniversary.
Willowick Police Chief Brian Turner told Fox 8, "they ran to it when everyone else was running away from it, which is understandable, and unfortunately I think the saddest thing is that people do forget over time and I think one of the most important things to come out of this display is, it brings back to the forefront the sacrifice that those men and women made on that day."
Bill Sabin considers the memorial to be a history lesson for those who were too young to remember the events of 9-11 or were born after that terrible day.
The curiosity that the tribute has inspired with younger generations, serves as a motivation for Sabin to continue to display the memorial every September 11th. "The best feeling to me with that is when they leave here and I hear them asking questions, because that means somebody has to talk to them about it," said Sabin.