Flags on farm (file photo from Wisconsin)

Flags on farm (LAM file photo from Wisconsin)

The deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. took place on the East Coast on Sept. 11, 2001.

Most everyone remembers where they were and what they were doing when news arrived that American Airlines Flight 11 had slammed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York.

That Tuesday morning, thousands of people involved in the ag community were arriving at Big Iron when the terrible event began to unfold. The time was 8:46 a.m., EST.

Then United Airlines Flight 175 flew into the South Tower at 9:03 a.m. The 110-story twin towers collapsed less than two hours later.

American Airlines Flight 77 was flown into the Pentagon leading to a partial collapse on the west side of the structure at 9:37 a.m. Terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93 wanted to fly into the Capitol in Washington, D.C., but they were heroically stopped by passengers on the jet, and the plane crashed in a field in Stonycreek Township, Penn., more than 150 miles from the Capitol at 10:03 a.m.

The two-hour attack cost 2,977 souls and over 25,000 injuries, including the loss of 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officers.

On the tarred or grassy parking areas of Big Iron, people sat in their vehicles listening to the news on the radio. As they entered the fairgrounds, a couple of exhibitors turned up their radios so that visitors at Big Iron could listen.

Initially, there was talk of cancelling Big Iron, but the exhibitors were already set up and many people were already on the grounds, so Big Iron officials and the Red River Valley Fair staff decided to go ahead with the show.

The mood was somber for all three days of the 2001 show. The crowd on Wednesday, Sept. 12, was large, but it was a much more introspective and a much more patriotic group than usual.

During the 2001 Big Iron Farm Show and around the world, individuals recognized the importance of family and friends, the meaning of freedom and the value of bravery.

It was after Sept. 11 that people started to leave notes of love for their family. We all recognized that the potential to come home is never promised. We also realized just how fortunate are those who live in the United States of America.