City leaders in Lexington helped commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11 Saturday.
Church bells tolled in the distance, marking the time the planes crashed.
Lexington firefighters held a wreath-laying ceremony downtown.
“20 years ago today, we saw something that we’ve never seen before in this country,” Lexington Fire Chief Jason Wells said. “An attack on American soil of that magnitude.”
City leaders remembered where they were two decades ago. Chief Wells was on his day off and turned on his television to watch the events unfold. Lexington Police Chief Lawrence Weathers was at work as an officer. Special guest speaker and retired New York firefighter Al Benjamin remembers Sept. 11, 2001 vividly.
He lost several of his colleagues in the aftermath of the terror attacks.
“Three hundred forty-three firefighters lost their lives that day, hundreds more have died of 9/11-related illnesses since,” Wells said. “In the fire service, it is a day for us to reflect on what it is that we do, on the people who gave the ultimate sacrifice that day in their service to others, and how we as a profession must never forget.”
While 9/11 remains a solemn day, leaders said it’s time we come together again.
“We can do that, we as a country can come together that way, and the things that unite us truly are greater than the things that divide us,” Wells said.
He said as a profession and as a people, Patriot Day is a reminder not to take anything for granted.
“It just makes us realize that life is indeed very fragile,” Wells said. “We work in a dangerous and very stressful profession and what keeps us going is that comradery and the ability to share those experiences with the other members who truly are our family. “
Family, friends and a moment in time we will never forget.
Wells said the Lexington Fire Department helped fundraise for New York first responders after 9/11. He said some members went to memorial services in New York, and also donated blood.