Medford, Ore. -- The 9/11 Memorial opened Thursday and even in Medford, nearly 3,000 miles away, the sacrifices are not forgotten.
"The whole thing was really surreal," says Medford/Jackson County Chamber President Brad Hicks. He flew into New York just days after the World Trade Center bombings on September 11th.
"More than the sight it was the smell," continues Hicks. "I said to my wife, take all this in. I hope it's the only time you are on an active battlefield."
Today, that battle field is transformed. It's now dedicated as a memorial to remember the fallen.
Hicks remembers the moment when New Yorkers learned the attacks were an act of terrorism.
"All of a sudden, across the ticker tape and boards was this announcement that the United States had begun to strike," Hicks tells us.
"The world changed on 9/11," says Medford Police Chief Tim George. George says even here in Oregon things are done differently now as far as law enforcement are concerned, "There's an innocence that got taken away from every community, now you've got to treat everyone the same. In one sense it's a very good thing, in another sense it's a very sad thing because you can't trust anybody. Trust but verify, that's the motto we now live by."
George says post 9/11, police forces work much more cooperatively, "We're in constant contact with Eugene, Portland, Salem."
There's also an added layer of investigation for each criminal act, as they must determine if there are links to larger groups or terrorist motives. "You have to think globally and act locally," says George.
As the monument opens, 2,977 victims are honored.
"Our gratefulness to them can never exceed their sacrifice," says Medford Police Chaplain Bob Gass, "... It's important that American's have heart attitude."
An attitude Hicks and George now share with the nation.
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