Ceremonies and silence mark solemn anniversary

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 12, 2002

Fire alarm bells echoed in the morning sky and flags were hoisted at half-staff Wednesday to honor those who lost their lives in terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon a year ago.

Firefighters lined up in front of the firehouse at Albert Lea City Hall. Three sets of five bell tolls were resonant at 9:05 a.m. and again at 9:28, the exact times when each of the two towers collapsed.

The service followed a long-time tradition of fire departments respecting firefighters who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities.

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&uot;Such symbolism has been a time-honored fire-service tradition is repeated at each service of a fallen firefighter,&uot; said Fire Chief Richard Sydnes.

Mayor Bob Haukoos, a former firefighter himself, issued proclamations that honor local firefighters and law enforcement officers for their increased duties after the Sept. 11 attacks.

&uot;We have to reflect that every day they put their lives on the line and serve for citizens and communities,&uot; Haukoos said. &uot;I think we have to stand back and thank them for their services.&uot;

At the same time, flag ceremonies were orchestrated at county government facilities.

In the courthouse, Richard Hoffman, Environmental Services, was in charge of hoisting the Stars and Stripes.

Hoffman, who was in the Army between 1975 and 78, said, &uot;I feel deep sorrow for the families and all people who were involved in this tragedy. At the same time, our community has shown a strong sense of patriotism by comments and actions. We are here to express our support to all of them by this ceremony.&uot;

Albert Lea schools observed a moment of silence at 10 a.m., and some local businesses fell silent at noon in remembrance of the attacks. In the evening, churches opened their doors for prayer services marking the anniversary.