SANTA MARIA, Calif. – The City of Santa Maria held five separate ceremonies Monday morning at all of its fire stations to commemorate 9/11 and to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
"It's a day of remembrance," said Santa Maria Fire Chief Brad Dandridge. "It was a day I will remember forever, and it's something we commemorated here, and we remembered here in the City of Santa Maria, and what we want to do is to continue to remember those actions that the 343 firefighters took on that day to try and save lives. It's important and it will always be remembered."
The annual commemorations at the five city fire stations were all brief in length and followed recommended protocols established by the International Fire Service and adopted by the Fire Chiefs of Santa Barbara County.
Beginning at 7:20 a.m., a fire engine at each location was pulled out of the station and parked on the front driveway. It later sounded three sets of five blasts from its horns.
Immediately following the sounding of the horn, one minute of silence was held for reflection for those who were in attendance.
At Fire Station 1, Dandridge was joined by Santa Maria firefighters on duty, Crew 7 from the Santa Lucia Ranger District, as well as Santa Maria City Manager Jason Stillwell and City Council members Mike Cordero and Carlos Escobedo and members of the public.
Later, Mayor Alice Patino, who attended the ceremony at Fire Station 3, arrived at spoke with firefighters at Fire Station 1 for several minutes and thanked each one for their service.
"To see our young men and women, our first responders and to run into these buildings, instead of running out, and to be there for all of us, it's just so vitally important and we need to thank them everyday, We need to be reminded how thankful we are to live in this country," said Patino. "I think it's important because we have to remind people and I think it's important to show our appreciation for our first responders, and we need to be there for them, they're always there for us."
After the moment of reflection, the American flag lowered to half-staff on the flagpole, where it will remain until 7:30 p.m. when it will be raised back to full-staff.
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