News Briefs

Gov. Kelly directs flags to be flown at half-staff in Kansas on Sept. 11 anniversary

By: - September 8, 2023 10:44 am
Former Attorney General Robert Stephan, who served four terms as the state's top law enforcement officer, died at age 89. The Republican left office in 1995. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order directing flags be flown at half-staff Monday in honor of lives lost to terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001. (Tim Carpenter/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — Gov. Laura Kelly issued an executive order Friday directing flags in Kansas be lowered to half-staff from sunup to sundown Monday to mark the nearly 3,000 lives lost to terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2001.

“Twenty-two years after an act of terrorism took the lives of nearly 3,000 Americans, injured thousands more and scarred so many of us, we continue to say, ‘Never Forget,'” Kelly said.

The worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil involved hijacking four commercial airplanes that departed Boston, Washington, D.C., or Newark, New Jersey. Two were flown into the Twin Tower buildings in the financial district of New York City. The 110-story skyscrapers collapsed within two hours as debris destroyed five other buildings in the Trade Center complex.

One of the hijacked airliners was flown into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The fourth aircraft crashed in an isolated field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after passengers fought hijackers.

“The extreme tragedy of that day is only half the story,” the governor said in a statement. “We also remember that our country’s brave first responders went above and beyond the call of duty to save lives — even as they lost more than 400 of their own. They did that 22 years ago, and they continue to do so to this day. On behalf of the state of Kansas, thank you for your service and your sacrifice.”

Overall, the four crashes caused the death of 2,996 people. The attacks killed 343 firefighters and 72 law enforcement personnel. The 19 terrorists of the militant Islamic group al-Qaeda who hijacked the planes also died.

Kelly’s directive regarding lowering flags Monday for the Sept. 11 observance was contained in Executive Order No. 20-30.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International.