HARTSELLE, Ala. (WHNT) – Though we are hundreds of miles from New York City, many in the Tennessee Valley have ties to the towers. On Sunday, Alabamians gathered to remember the lives lost 21 years ago.

The vigil in Hartselle was an opportunity for prayer and remembrance as many shared their memories of the Sept. 11 attacks.

“I had family members that worked in that building,” said event organizer George Hearring.

Hearring has hosted this unity prayer vigil on the anniversary of 9/11 for seven years.

“I wanted to do this on an annual basis in remembrance of what happened,” Hearring said.

In addition to honoring those we lost, Hearring said the community has an opportunity to look to its future.

“Honor God,” Hearring said. “Give Him the praise for our lives, what we’ve gone through and how far we’ve come. How far do we still have time to go.”

During Sunday’s vigil, some shared their memories of the attacks 21 years ago.

“We would later learn that Janice perished in that attack, said Trevor Woods. “So this day is a little painful for me because we all know about the memory, but I know about somebody.”

Other speakers reflected on the current division in our nation.

“You don’t have to look very far to see a lot of hurt in our nation and in our world,” said Hartselle Chief of Police Justin Barley.

However, the darkest moments often have the power to bring people together.

“We need to come together as a group of people, as a nation,” Hearring said.

Hearring said he hopes to continue hosting annual 9/11 unity prayer vigils in future years.