TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Dave Lessly remembers what he was doing on that infamous September morning 16 years ago.

He was keeping busy at work when his supervisor came in to tell the crew that the business was shutting down for the morning. They went into a room and watched the news unfold: planes had flown into the World Trade Center.

“I was shocked more than anything,” he said. “I was shocked that something like this could happen here in the U.S.”

Before long, Lessly started experiencing a flood of other emotions: anger, sadness, fear – and then he started wondering what it was he could do for his country.

Some of those same feelings returned to Lessly on Monday at City Park, where a memorial ceremony was held on the 16th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. A flag presentation, short talks, and a song of remembrance were part of the ceremony.

A memorial ceremony in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2011 was held on Monday morning at City Park. (Photo by Andrew Weeks)

“I still think about it,” he said after the 40-minute ceremony. “I think about all the people who lost loved ones, and what it is we can do as American citizens to protect our freedoms and uphold our beliefs.”

Twin Falls was one of many communities in Idaho and across the country that held memorial ceremonies today. Those at City Park included city and county government officials, local law enforcement officers, firefighters and representatives of other organizations, among others.

Lessly and his wife, Peggy, were at the park with small American flags that they put to good use earlier in the morning at the I.B. Perrine Bridge. As members of the Magic Valley chapter of the POW/MIA Awareness Association, they were at the bridge with some 20 other members, waving their flags and getting the attention of passersby. The group meets regularly to plan community activities and raise money for the organization, which works to help find missing war veterans.

“Did you know that Idaho still has eight missing veterans?” he asked.

Lessly, who served in the U.S. Navy from 1988-1994, said the country’s flag is important enough to him that he flies it from his home every day. It’s a symbol of freedom, but also of other good things in the country.

City and county government officials, local law enforcement officers, firefighters and representatives of other organizations, among others, attended the ceremony on Monday, Sept. 11, at Twin Falls City Park. (Photo by Andrew Weeks)

Twin Falls County Commissioner Jack Johnson said ceremonies like the one Monday serve as a reminder of the importance of being unified as a community and country instead of divided.

Johnson, whose career involved working with the Jerome and Twin Falls sheriff's offices, was a sergeant at the time of the terrorist attacks and said he remembers what he was doing on that infamous morning 16 years ago.

“I had the day off and was home watching the morning news,” he said. “When that first plane hit I knew our country was under attack.”

Back then the country seemed to unite after the attacks, he said, but anymore there is a lot of division politically, socially and otherwise.  Whenever he sees an image or video clip from Black Tuesday, some of the old feelings return.

“As an American citizen you can’t help but still be angry about it,” Johnson said. “But these days we need to do things to help unite our country. Our country is so divided right now that we need to find things to do that bring us together.”

Helping someone in need or saying hello to a stranger are simple things that help the larger cause, he said, adding that he thinks for the most part Twin Falls is doing a pretty good job of that.