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Healing with others: Minnesota, western Wisconsin crowd gathers to mark Sept. 11 anniversary

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A New Richmond fire truck participates in a Sept. 11 anniversary event Sunday involving first responders from several area cities. The vehicle started in Hudson and drove west on Interstate 94 to Woodbury. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Scott Wente)2 / 7
Newport fire trucks cross Stagecoach Trail over Interstate 94 in West Lakeland Township during a Sept. 11 anniversary event Sunday. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)3 / 7
Hudson firefighters Mike Anderson (from left), Mark Van De Sande and Brent Johnson pose for a photo by Paul Rode of Agave Kitchen. Rode organized a Sept. 11 memorial event Sunday in which emergency vehicles from numerous area cities traveled on Interstate 94 west from Hudson, passing beneath the Stagecoach Trail bridge in West Lakeland Township, where a crowd had gathered. The vehicles then traveled across the Stagecoach Trail bridge to applause from the crowd. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Scott Wente)4 / 7
Kelli Cadwell of Woodbury waved her flag on Stagecoach Trail above Interstate 94 on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11. A large crowd turned out for a brief memorial ceremony and to watch fire trucks and rescue vehicles from area cities travel west on I-94 from Hudson and then cross the Stagecoach Trail bridge in West Lakeland Township. (Rivertown Multimedia photo by Scott Wente)5 / 7
Kelli Cadwell of Woodbury holds a flag as a fire truck from her city passes across the Stagecoach Trail bridge over Interstate 94 during a Sept. 11 anniversary event Sunday in West Lakeland Township. (RiverTown Multimedia photo by Scott Wente)6 / 7
A large group gathered Sunday morning on both sides of Stagecoach Trail over Interstate 94 in West Lakeland Township to mark the 15th anniversary of Sept. 11. (Bulletin photo by Scott Wente)7 / 7

Paul Rode stood alone on an interstate bridge holding a U.S. flag on Sept. 11, his own impromptu response to the terrorist attacks.

Rode was back on an interstate overpass Sunday, joined by perhaps a couple hundred people marking the 15th anniversary of 9/11.

"People got to heal," Rode said at the close of a memorial event on Stagecoach Trail over Interstate 94 in West Lakeland Township.

The large crowd gathered on the bridge Sunday morning waved U.S. flags as vehicles honked from the interstate. Shortly before 10 a.m., more than a dozen fire trucks and ambulances from area cities left Hudson and traveled west on I-94, passing beneath the crowd gathered on Stagecoach Trail before looping back on Hudson Road in Woodbury and driving by the crowd. Fire trucks from Hudson, Cottage Grove, New Richmond, Woodbury, Newport, Bayport and other communities blared their sirens as people cheered.

Kelli Cadwell of Woodbury was attending the memorial for the first time. She said she had a "yearning" to mark the 15th anniversary that way.

"I didn't think it was going to feel this spiritual," she said.

Rode, who owns Agave Kitchen in Hudson, said he tells people to come out to the event each Sept. 11 anniversary as a way to heal. They picked Stagecoach Trail for its proximity to the interstate and because there is space for people to safely gather.

"It just grows every year," he said.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

(651) 459-7600
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