ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Saturday marks 20 years since the terrorist attacks of 9/11. 

Dozens turned out Friday morning at the Blue Cross Arena, to commemorate all those affected. 

The event, called “Operation We Remember”, was hosted by the Veterans Outreach Center.  

“America as a whole said we would never forget, those words are very meaningful to those of us who have served our country,” said Laura Stradley, Executive Director of the VOC.

Stradley spent eight years on active duty. 

“Sometimes, having fought this war for 20 years, it’s kind of background noise to a lot of people and it should never be that,” she said.

20 years is a long time; she wanted to make this annual ceremony stand out. 

“We really put the call out to our police chiefs, fire chiefs, military service organizations to come pay respects with us,” she said.

A key theme speakers touched on: including the younger generations in the conversation. 

Many, not old enough to remember or weren’t even born yet. 

“They don’t remember how America emerged out of that, they don’t remember the lessons we drew from that horrible day,” said Senator Rob Ortt, also a U.S. Army Veteran.

The anniversary, also an opportunity to remind everyone how united our nation can be. 

“Now today we might say the opposite, we might say we are as divided as we’ve ever been, it would be so nice to take today, if not moving forward but at least today, for all Americans to reflect,” she said.

“We need to make sure the future generation, the generation that wasn’t there remembers the heroism, the sacrifice, the tragedy but also the lessons that we should draw from that day,” said Ortt.