The World Trade Center was the largest rescue operation in the country’s history, and the firefighters, paramedics and police officers were running into harm’s way as everyone else was running away, Fire Chief Michael Dyer said during Wednesday's ceremony.
“Those 343 firefighters gave their lives not for family, not for friends, not for neighbors, but for strangers,” he said, adding that it’s important to gather every year and remember the victims and millions of people who were impacted by that day’s terrorist acts. “9/11 we honor, we remember and we will never forget.”
Undersheriff Jim Peterson said Americans have adjusted to increased security at airports and large events and the fragileness of the financial system since that day, but everything has made them stronger.
He said first responders know all too well the risks involved with their jobs, but are proud to do it and be an important part of their communities.
Two members of the Fire Department lowered the headquarters' flag to half-staff and rang a bell to signify the loss of fellow firefighters. The ringing of the bell signifies the end of a call — their task completed. The bell had three rings, three times each, which rang out in the stillness of the Wednesday morning air.
Local schools found their own ways to remember Sept. 11, with songs and patriotic readings.
Goleta Valley Junior High School read a portion of President Barack Obama’s proclamation over the public address system Wednesday morning, and social studies classes planned to discuss remembrance throughout the day.
La Colina Junior High held a patriotic reading after the morning Pledge of Allegiance and placed flowers and mini flags at the school’s flag pole.
Santa Barbara High School’s Madrigals sang the national anthem over the PA system after morning announcements, Keyani said.