UPDATE 9/12/13 11:15 A.M.
Parkersburg High School welcomed the mother of 9-11 victim Mary Lou Hague, who reminded students that maintaining American freedom means, as it did in the years following September 11th, protecting the nation from terrorists.
"We must realize that, as long as other countries do not have the freedom we have, there are going to be more terrorism attacks. and we must not forget 9-11, we must not forget what happened that day," says Liza Adams, mother of Mary Lou Hague.
Many of the students who attended this ceremony may have been too young to remember the day of the attacks.
Students who were at an observance at West Virginia University at Parkersburg were in elementary school that day. One says they haven't lived in a world their elders lived in.
"I remember talking to my parents and my grandparents about being able to do a lot of things without fear of someone breaking into your house or shooting you. But I think 9-11 encompasses what it means to live a life of fear in a sense," says Tyler Ohrn, Student Government Association President at WVU-P.
Ohrn says that's a lesson we learned again, after last spring's bombing at the Boston Marathon. America might be safer as a result of the September 11th attacks, but whether it is safe, is a matter of opinion.
West Virginia University at Parkersburg held its traditional 9-11 observance Wednesday, which included an address by Parkersburg Police Chief Joe Martin.
The school's president reminded those in attendance that the legacy of September 11 goes far beyond the memories.
"We cannot go to airports or public venues without highly-enhanced security, reminding us that, on that day, our lives were changed. Our military continues to do battle with those who want to harm us. We continue to go beyond merely mourning what took place, we focus on healing," said Dr. Marie Gnage, the college's president.
Students rang a bell four times, commemorating each of the 9-11 attacks - including United flight 93, which crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers overpowered that plane's hijackers..