BAY AREA (CBS SF) — First responders and others in the Bay Area on Monday were honoring their compatriots who died in the in the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and in a plane that went down in a Pennsylvania field.
San Francisco’s fire department held its annual 9/11 memorial ceremony Monday morning.
Every year, the trucks roll out of the bays to symbolize a call to duty. At 6:59 a.m., the exact time the first of the Twin Towers came crashing down, firefighters ring the bell three times for the “last alarm.”
After a moment of silence, firefighters read the names of each of the 343 firefighters killed at the World Trade Center.
“This year especially today is more somber for our department because we lost a beloved member of our department roughly around the same time in the line of duty, said Asst. SF Fire Chief Tom Siragusa.
Battalion Chief Terry Smerdel passed away in the line of duty after returning to the station from a fire call.
“It just seems a little extra emotional. A lot of things happening with the organization,” said SF Fire Lt. Jonathan Baxter.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said in a statement Monday, “On this day 16 years ago, we experienced a national tragedy that will never be forgotten.
“The anniversary of 9/11 is a time to reflect on what we lost, and celebrate the brave people who serve our communities,” Lee said.
At the USS Hornet Museum in Alameda, 30 to 40 people listened as a bell rang at the time when the South Tower collapsed, when United Airlines Flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania, when the North Tower collapsed, and when part of the Pentagon collapsed. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks on this day in 2001.
All of the names of the victims were displayed on a screen on a hangar deck and cards were available for people to write to first responders. Many first responders died trying to save people from the collapsing towers in New York.
“It was a very simple but respectful service,” USS Hornet spokesman Michael McCarron said.
Elsewhere, other events were scheduled to bring to mind the people who died that day.
In Salinas, police and firefighters gathered at 7:30 a.m. in front of City Hall followed by a reception at Police Activities League Youth Center.
Public safety officers in Sunnyvale gathered with community members at 7 a.m. at Fire Station 2 to honor their fellow citizens who died.
In Vallejo, city officials held the city’s first 9/11 memorial at 10 a.m. at Station 21.
Later in Danville, the Exchange Club of San Ramon Valley is scheduled to remember the first responders who died in the 9/11 attacks at 5:30 p.m. at the All Wars Memorial at Oak Hill Park at 3005 Stone Valley Road.
Marine Medical Corpsman Derek McGinnis, who was injured in 2004 by a suicide bomber who drove into McGinnis’ humvee ambulance, will speak.
Antonio Aversano will tell about losing his father in the 9/11 attacks at a peace picnic, prayer service and vigil at 5:30 p.m. in King Plaza at 250 Hamilton Ave. in Palo Alto.
© Copyright 2017 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.