Commander Dan Shanower September 11 Memorial

September 11 Remembrance Ceremony

Hosted by the Naperville Exchange Club, the ceremony commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will take place on Saturday, Sept. 11 by the Shanower Memorial. (In the event of rain, the event will take place in Council Chambers of the Naperville Municipal Center.)

Music for this year’s ceremony will be provided by the Naperville Municipal Band and Naperville Men's Glee Club starting at 8:30 a.m., with the ceremony itself beginning at 8:46 a.m. The featured speaker will be José Santiago, retired Chicago Fire Department Fire Commissioner. The ceremony will also include remarks by Naperville Interim Police Chief Jason Arres and Naperville Fire Chief Mark Puknaitis. 

"Those of us in the military are expected to make the ultimate sacrifice when called. The military loses scores of personnel each year. Each one risked and lost his or her life in something they believed in, leaving behind friends, family and shipmates to bear the burden and celebrate their devotion to our country...Freedom isn't free."
Commander Dan Shanower

Naperville was one of the first cities in America to dedicate a memorial to those who died in the September 11, 2001, attacks on America. The memorial was inspired by Naperville native Naval Commander Dan Shanower, who died in the attack on the Pentagon. Dedicated on September 11, 2003, the memorial is nestled between the DuPage River and the Naperville Municipal Center.

 The Shanower Memorial is seen along the DuPage River. It features a gray sculpture with 100 pounds of rubble from the damaged Pentagon, as well as the number 93 for victims of the Pennsylvania airline crash.

Commander Dan Shanower 

Navy officer Commander Dan Shanower in his uniform in front of an American flag and bookcaseCommander Dan F. Shanower, 40, combined strong patriotism with a taste for adventure and a wonderful sense of humor. A Navy intelligence officer, he had just begun gathering information on the World Trade Center attacks to brief his superiors when the hijacked plane that struck the Pentagon killed him.

Commander Shanower grew up in Naperville, and attended Naperville public schools, later graduating from Carroll College in Waukesha, Wisconsin. He joined the Navy and was commissioned as an officer in 1985.

Honoring All the 9/11 Casualties

The memorial takes its theme from an article written by Commander Shanower entitled "Freedom Isn't Free." It includes more than 140 faces created by Naperville schoolchildren symbolizing the casualties of September 11. These faces are molded onto the surface of a 48-foot retaining wall that serves as a backdrop to the memorial that also incorporates an eternal flame.  At the center of the memorial, a sculpture designed by Benton Harbor, Michigan, artist Bill Cooper integrates 100 pounds of rubble from the damaged portion of the Pentagon, a twisted steel beam from the World Trade Center and granite from the Pennsylvania region where Flight 93 crashed after passengers took on the hijackers. Incised into the sculpture are an outline of Commander Shanower's boot print, the insignias of New York area rescue workers, and the number "93," in memory of the Pennsylvania crash victims. The memorial plaza is surrounded by a perennial garden. The picturesque site is along the Naperville Riverwalk on the banks of the west branch of the DuPage River and adjacent to the city's Municipal Center. The memorial was built on land provided by the Naperville City Council with privately raised funds and donated goods and services.

close-up of the name Dan F. Shanower carved in stone at the Sept. 11 memorial in New York City.
Commander Shanower's name is visible on the September 11 memorial in New York City.