A rusted piece of steel from the ruins of the World Trade Center that sits outside the Portsmouth Police Department has served as the backdrop for 9/11 ceremonies in the past, but as the Seacoast prepares to mark the 20th anniversary, plans are underway for this year’s somber event to be held at the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show.

With the air show at the Pease Air National Guard Base planned for the weekend of Sept. 11 and 12, organizers decided to hold the 9/11 ceremony before the show begins.

Gates open at 9 a.m. with the ceremony to follow at 10 a.m.

Guest speakers will include Col. John Pogorek, commander of the 157th Air Refueling Wing, and N.H. Adjutant Gen. David Mikolaities.

A flyover by New Hampshire State Police aviation is also planned, according to Senior Master Sgt. Timothy Huffman, a base spokesman.

“As Americans and airmen, we must remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and those who responded that day. We are proud to host the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show in their memory on the 20th anniversary of 9/11,” Pogorek said.

The air show, which is free but has limited seating, will feature thrilling air performances by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds and several other aircraft.

Because 9/11 ceremonies were traditionally held at the police station, Portsmouth Police Chief Mark Newport said some people may still stop by to pay their respects at the steel monument, which was given to the Police Department by the New York Port Authority in 2015.

Newport said the police chaplain may also speak at the monument, but most members of the police department will be attending the air show.

The terror attack hit close to home as Portsmouth resident Tom McGuinness was the co-pilot of American Airlines flight 11, which was hijacked and crashed into the World Trade Center’s north tower at 8:46 a.m. on that fateful day.

Newport, who’s been with Portsmouth since 1995, was assigned to a drug task force and was headed to a federal building in Boston to work on a case when the attack happened.

“It’s hard to believe it’s 20 years later. I would say it was a devastating moment for the world, not just the U.S. As far as first responders, there were over 400 first responders who perished between fire and police. It was a tragedy,” he said.

For more information on the Thunder Over New Hampshire Air Show, visit www.thunderovernewhampshire.com.

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

More From Seacoast Current