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Friday Harbor remembers: About 50 residents and emergency personnel attend 9/11 commemoration at base of Spring Street

Public safety personnel, Friday Harbor Fire Chief Vern Long, and San Juan District 3 Fire Chief Steve Marler bow their heads as Fire Chaplain Nancy Tiederman offers a prayer in memory of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. About 50 people attended the brief ceremony at the base of Spring Street. - Scott Rasmussen
Public safety personnel, Friday Harbor Fire Chief Vern Long, and San Juan District 3 Fire Chief Steve Marler bow their heads as Fire Chaplain Nancy Tiederman offers a prayer in memory of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. About 50 people attended the brief ceremony at the base of Spring Street.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

About 50 people — EMTs, fire fighters, paramedics, and residents — attended a solemn but brief commemoration of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, today at the base of Spring Street.

Backdropped by Memorial Park and its towering elms, Fire Chaplain Nancy Tiederman offered a prayer as emergency personnel bowed their heads.

At 9:59 a.m., a moment of silence was observed.

At 10 a.m., a recording of a bagpiper playing "Amazing Grace" was played over a town-owned public address system.

District 3 firefighter Francis Smith rang “Signal 5-5-5” on the bell of the town's antique Cadillac fire truck. (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.)

Finally, a cannon was fired.

Today is the eighth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. The ceremony in Friday Harbor was held to remember the day and honor all who lost their lives.

All told, 2,993 people died in the series of attacks. Of those who died, 343 were firefighters and paramedics, 60 were law enforcement officers.

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.

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