Although it has been 17 years since the Twin Towers fell and even though the enemy was thousands of miles away when planes struck the Pentagon, most Montanans still feel 9/11's effects.
"I’m humbled just to be here and remember and honor those guys that went before," said James E. Heffernan.
The 83-year-old has served the United States in countless capacities. From his time in the Armed Forces through his term as a police officer, his years of service have taught him that we're best when we unite... Like we did 17 years ago.
"That's when we all got together. Black, white, red pink you name it, the different religions. We all got together and worked together to try and save some people," said Heffernan.
While most of the ceremony honored our fallen heroes, many speakers called for our country to come together during this seemingly divided time.
"We must seek out light on a day that it deemed by dark," said Wilmot Collins, Mayor of Helena.
Those currently in the line of duty reminded the crowded room that sacrifices from 9/11 continue.
"Not a lot of people pay attention, but there were 18 more names added to that wall from 9/11 related illnesses this year alone. And that's going to continue for a long time," said Mark Emert, Helena’s Fire Chief.
Officials say it is partly their responsibility to help those who help protect our country.
"We have to recognize that these are not easy jobs. And that we must give our public servants, particularly our first responders and those in law enforcement the resources they need to do their jobs well," said Tim Fox, Montana’s Attorney General.
Veterans, like Heffernan, say that America’s future is bright if we can continue to push aside politics and bitterness to move forward as a nation...Together.
"That’s what we stand for… America and I’m damn proud of it," said Heffernan.