Remembering those who lost their lives: 9/11 commemoration Friday at base of Spring Street

A scene from last year
A scene from last year's remembrance of lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks: From left, Peter deLorenzi of American Legion Post 163, Pastor Joe Gamez of Calvary Chapel, and Friday Harbor Mayor David Jones.
— image credit: Journal file photo / James Krall

This Friday is the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

To remember the day and honor all who lost their lives, there will be a simple remembrance ceremony at the base of Spring Street near Memorial Park.

"This event does not involve a parade, procession or any street closures," San Juan County District 3 Fire Chief Steve Marler said in an e-mail. "To avoid interfering with traffic from the 9:50 a.m. ferry, participants and observers are asked to arrive no later than 9:45 a.m."

Here is the planned sequence of events:

— Participants should gather on the sidewalk east of Memorial Park (adjacent to the water, so the street is not blocked). Weather permitting, the Friday Harbor Fire Department will stage its antique Cadillac fire engine in the traffic circle at the base of Spring Street as the sole sentinel honoring the fallen.

— At 9:59 a.m., a full moment of silence will be observed.

— At 10 a.m., a bagpiper (if available) will play "Amazing Grace."

— Immediately thereafter, Town Fire will ring out “Signal 5-5-5” on the Cadillac’s bell. (Before radios and telephones, a fire department would send a “Signal 5-5-5” over its fire alarm telegraph system as a means of signifying a fallen firefighter. Over time, the tradition has grown to honor all emergency service workers.)

— Following the bells, anyone who wishes to say something will be welcome to do so and that will conclude the service.

The Sept. 11 attacks were a series of coordinated suicide attacks by Al-Qaeda upon the United States. Nineteen Al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four commercial passenger jets. The hijackers crashed two of the airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City, killing everyone on board and many others working in the buildings. The trade center's twin towers collapsed within two hours.

Hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon outside of Washington, D.C. The fourth plane crashed into a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania; passengers and flight crew had attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers had redirected toward Washington, D.C.

There were no survivors from any of the flights. All told, 2,993 people, including the hijackers, died in the attacks.

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