At 5:46 a.m. Pacific daylight savings time — the same time a Boeing 767 carrying 11 crew members and 81 passengers was crashed by terrorists into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City — Tracy Fire Department crews lowered the American flag at all stations to half staff.
Division Chief David Bramell said it’s a way to remember those who were killed and who died trying to save others in the aerial attacks, which toppled both World Trade Center main towers, destroyed part of the Pentagon and resulted in a downed plane in a Pennsylvania field.
“The reason we’re doing it is in remembrance of the sacrifices made that day,” he said.
A ¬commission gathered to investigate the attacks concluded 2,983 victims were killed in the attacks perpetrated by 19 militants that U.S. intelligence agencies later determined were linked with al-Qaida, a radical Islamic network headed by Osama bin Laden until he was killed by U.S. forces May 2, 2011.
Many police officers and firefighters who tried to rescue people in the burning Twin Towers before they collapsed were among the dead that day in 2001. But Bramell said the local services are not conducted solely because of the professional connection firefighters have with the Sept. 11 attacks.
“We’re not looking to do it with a lot of public fanfare — it’s just an honest moment when we can reflect and look on the sacrifices made by all American citizens on that day,” he said.
Bramell said this is the second year in a row this specific ceremony has been observed in Tracy, though firefighters here have conducted remembrances of various types in the years following the attacks, he said.
Though recalling that day and what it meant to the nation might be “thrown around a little loosely” on Facebook and through other outlets, Bramell said, the “never forget” sentiment should be taken seriously.
“It really is important that we never do,” he said.
Flags throughout Tracy were lowered Tuesday, including those at local schools and at the West Valley Mall. According to a proclamation issued Monday, Sept. 10, by President Barack Obama, “all departments, agencies and instrumentalities of the United States” were supposed to lower the American flag for Sept. 11, christened Patriot Day in December 2001 by Congress.
The flag outside Tracy City Hall, however, was flying at full staff at noon Tuesday.