Writer Joseph J. Airdo
Photography by Nate Decker

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his Sept. 11 marks the 20th anniversary of one of the most horrific events in United States’ history.

“Many of us swore an oath on that day we would never forget what was done to our nation; but more importantly, we would never forget those who gave their life on that day,” Amped Coffee Company owners Keith and Jeanine Walashek wrote on their business’s Facebook page.

Amped Coffee Company will honor those courageous individuals with a Never Forgotten 9/11 event at its Anthem coffeehouse. In addition to tribute, testimony, prayer and moment of silence activities, the Anthem sky will be lit up by two powerful spotlights providing the brightest tower of lights in Arizona during the second annual event, which will conclude with a concert.

Last year’s event drew more than 1,200 attendees under heavy COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions. Therefore, this year’s event is expected to be even bigger.

Just as it did last year, Never Forgotten 9/11 will benefit Tunnel of Towers Tempe — a local chapter of a national nonprofit organization that supports law enforcement officers, firefighters and veterans. Tunnel of Towers also supports America’s Gold Star Families, which provides honor, hope and healing to those grieving any military loss through active duty service in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Throughout the week leading up to the event, Amped Coffee Company will auction off gift baskets donated by other Anthem businesses, with 100% of winning bids benefitting Tunnel to Towers Tempe. The coffeehouse will also hold a silent auction for exclusive rights to its front patio for up to 60 people — complete with security and table service — during the event.

The substantial donations for the fundraiser portion and the strong attendance of the event itself illustrate the exceptional generosity of Anthem business owners and the widespread acknowledgement and heartfelt gratitude of the entire Anthem community.

“As tragic as 9/11 was — and still is — I cannot help but remember how we as a nation came together as one, no matter our politics, race or religion,” the Walasheks stated. “We cried as a nation, we were angry as a nation, we sought out comfort as a nation and, ultimately, we celebrated those who paid the ultimate price as a nation.”

Never Forgotten 9/11
Saturday, Sept. 11
6–10:30 p.m.
Amped Coffee Company
3434 W. Anthem Way, Suite 102, Anthem