‘We Will Never Forget 9ll’

On Wednesday’s 18th anniversary of the 911 terror attacks, a South Pasadena firefighter lowers the flag at City Hall to half-staff, as police and other firefighters look on.

This was a day where silence was eloquence, where the peal of a bell or a lowered head or hands clasped in prayer said it all.

This was the 18th anniversary of the 911 terror attacks at the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and a field in Shanksville., Pa. — and in South Pasadena and throughout the San Gabriel Valley, it was observed Wednesday with moments of silence for the fallen, flags lowered to half-staff and solemn ceremonies.

In all, 2,977 innocent people died that day in 2001, including 343 New York City firefighters, 37 Port Authority police officers, 23 NYPD officers and eight emergency medical technicians and paramedics. Since 9/11, an estimated 202 FDNY members and 241 NYPD members have died from 9/11 related illnesses.

“We will never forget 911,’’ South Pasadena Police Chief Joe Ortiz said during very brief remarks outside City Hall as the flag was lowered to half-staff by a firefighter around 6:50 a.m., about the time the first tower was hit in New York.

Police and firefighters held their hands over their hearts as the flag descended.

Ortiz spoke as officers from the South Pas police and fire departments lined up in front of City Hall, standing at attention, their hands clasped in front of them.

They were joined by Mayor Marina Khubesrian, Council members Diana Mahmud and Robert Joe and a representative from Rep. Judy Chu’s office.

“The worst of humanity was on full display on that day but so was the best of humanity,’’ Khubesrian said.

“We stand together today at this remembrance ceremony in saying we will never forget all the innocent lives lost that day and the sacrifices and heroism of the first responders who risked everything to save the lives of those trapped and injured.’’

A small number of citizens joined the gathering, and passersby also stopped to remember and to reflect.

The remembrances were done in coordination with police and fire departments throughout the San Gabriel Valley through the Verdugo Fire Communications Center.

A tribute was aired by Verdugo Dispatch over the fire department’s radio frequency — three sets of five tones, followed by a 30-second moment of silence and then the announcement “Verdugo Clear,” at which point all units and radios resumed to normal operations.

The flag outside City Hall remained at half-staff throughout the day.

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