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State Historical Society of Iowa

State Historical Society of Iowa to commemorate 9/11

Sep 7, 2021
Museum display and bell-ringing ceremony to mark 20th anniversary

On the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the State Historical Society of Iowa will honor the attacks’ first responders and commemorate its victims with a bell-ringing ceremony outside the State Capitol in Des Moines. The program will begin at 8:45 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Liberty Bell east of the statehouse.

Before the program, the bell will toll first at 7:46 a.m. to mark the time of the attack on the World Trade Center’s North Tower in New York City, and then later to mark the attacks on the South Tower and the Pentagon, as well the crash of Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. The tolling will follow a 5-5-5 ringing protocol used by many fire departments to honor the memory of firefighters who died in service.

The formal program will include music by the MacKenzie Highlanders, central Iowa’s premier pipe and drum band, and conclude with remarks around 9:30 a.m.

“For those of us who remember that tragic day, it was one of sorrow and anger,” said Leo Landis, state curator for the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. “We encourage Iowans to fulfill the call of Patriot Day and seek opportunities to volunteer, a fitting tribute to the lives that were lost by serving others.”

After the bell ceremony, the public is invited to the State Historical Museum of Iowa from 10 to 11 a.m. to see a display that commemorates those who died during the attacks. The display also honors the service of Iowa City firefighter Glenn Pauley, who assisted in the rescue and recovery operation at the site of the twin towers in New York. He had befriended members of Rescue Company 4 of Queens in 1999 and felt called to help them after the attacks.

Several articles of clothing Pauley wore during the rescue and recovery operation are on display in the exhibit “Iowa’s People & Places,” which opened earlier this year to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Iowa’s statehood.

The September 11 materials will remain on display through the end of the year.

More information about the State Historical Museum of Iowa, which is regularly open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, is available at

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its divisions – the Iowa Arts Council; the interim Humanities Council; Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production; and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations.