The everyday courage and bravery displayed by the first responders in our nation's communities came into the spotlight in a heroic yet devastating way on September 11, 2001. Doing the math, you realize that the milestone 20th anniversary of the horrific circumstances of 9/11 is getting close.

Furthermore, as you turn on the news these days you see nothing but more devastation and hardship splattered all over your screen. For those who want to experience hope and pay homage to the heroes who are protecting us every day despite the challenging environment we live in today, a special event is being hosted by Lindale Mall on the anniversary.

"Hometown Heroes" is a salute to the local military, law enforcement, and first responders of Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas. Free, family-friendly events are taking place in Lindale's First Avenue parking lot that day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. including Touch-A-Truck, face painting, music, kids' crafts, inflatables, and food. To ensure meaningful participation, you are asked to register for the event at the link here.

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Additionally, resources for veterans will be available, including HACAP, Iowa Workforce Development, and the Linn County Veteran Association. Representatives from various branches of the military will be on hand to talk to and, if interested, sign attendees up for service in the United States Armed Forces.

It's a great chance to turn off the barrage of negativity for a few hours and enjoy a safe, fun family event in the community with an emphasis on honoring the people doing God's work every day.

NEVER FORGET: Images from 9/11 and the days after