Special events to commemorate 20th anniversary of 9/11

Detailing how fire departments and fire service organizations will mark the most tragic day in fire service history and honor the 343


Marking the 20th anniversary of September 11 is no small endeavor. No day has greater significance to the fire service than 9/11, when 343 FDNY firefighters died in the line of duty – a single day that forever changed an industry, and the world.

Fire departments around the country – and countless other organizations and businesses – will commemorate the milestone anniversary through special events and activities.

Following is a list of some of the events planned to mark the day and honor the fallen.

NATIONAL 9/11 MEMORIAL & MUSEUM

The 20th anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks will be marked with the traditional reading of victims’ names – the 2,983 men, women, and children killed in the 9/11 attacks and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center – held at the memorial plaza. Six moments of silence mark the times when each of the World Trade Center towers was struck, when each tower fell, and the times corresponding to the attack at the Pentagon, and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania. Commemorations will also include the Tribute in Light, the art installation consisting of two beams of light evoking the twin towers destroyed in the attack. Learn more about the event.

Each year in commemoration of 9/11, the twin beams of Tribute in Light shine, recalling the Twin Towers and honoring those killed.
Each year in commemoration of 9/11, the twin beams of Tribute in Light shine, recalling the Twin Towers and honoring those killed. (Photo/Jin S. Lee, 9/11 Memorial & Museum)

Tunnel to Towers Foundation

The Tunnel to Towers Foundation honors the sacrifice of Firefighter Stephen Siller, who died on 9/11. The organization, which honors military and first responders, is holding several events to mark the 20th anniversary:

  • Never Forget Walk: Over 42 days, Tunnel to Towers CEO Frank Siller will walk from the Pentagon to Shanksville, Pa., to New York City – 500 miles and six states.
  • Never Forget Concert: The concert, to be held on Aug. 21 at the Jones Beach Amphitheater, will feature Journey, The Chainsmokers, Steve Miller Band, John Fogerty, Ann Wilson, Lee Brice, Wyclef Jean, Gavin DeGraw, Wé McDonald, Lee Greenwood, Flo Rida, Danny Rodriguez and JAX.
  • 9/11 Reading of the Names: On Sept. 12, the names of all those who died of a 9/11-related illness will be read at a public ceremony at Ground Zero.
  • 5K Run & Walk NYC: The event, held this year on Sept. 26, symbolizes Stephen Siller’s final footsteps from the foot of the Battery Tunnel to the Twin Towers.

Learn more about these and other Tunnel to Towers Foundation events.

Tunnel to Towers CEO Frank Siller will walk from the Pentagon to Shanksville, Pa., to New York City.
Tunnel to Towers CEO Frank Siller will walk from the Pentagon to Shanksville, Pa., to New York City. (Photo/Tunnel to Towers Foundation)

BIKE RIDES

Multiple coast-to-coast bike rides are held to honor the victims of 9/11.

FDNY 343 Ride: FDNY members of Engine 50, Ladder 19 and Battalion 26 organized an annual bicycle trip on the anniversary of 9/11 to honor and remember the 343 members of the FDNY who perished in the World Trade Center. The memorial ride stretches from Montauk, N.Y., to Washington, D.C., over the course of five days. Donated proceeds from the ride go directly to help support severely injured veterans who have served in the Armed Forces. Learn more about the ride.

The memorial ride stretches from Montauk, N.Y., to Washington, D.C., over the course of five days.
The memorial ride stretches from Montauk, N.Y., to Washington, D.C., over the course of five days. (Photos/FDNY 343 Ride)

Bay2Brooklyn: A group of active and retired firefighters, plus military veterans, is planning to bike across the country, from the Bay Area to Brooklyn. The ride, called Bay2Brookyln  is dedicated to public safety, all military branches, medical providers. The riders plan to cross the Brooklyn Bridge into New York City on Sept. 9, in time to attend memorial events. Follow the riders along the route on the Bay2Brooklyn website. Learn more about the ride.

A group of active and retired firefighters, plus military veterans, is planning to bike across the country, from the Bay Area to Brooklyn.
A group of active and retired firefighters, plus military veterans, is planning to bike across the country, from the Bay Area to Brooklyn. (Photo/BaytoBrooklyn)

STAIR CLIMBS

There are dozens of 9/11 memorial stair climbs held every year to mark the anniversary of 9/11. Many are coordinated through the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

NFFF Stair Climbs: 9/11 memorial stair climbs honor the 343 FDNY firefighters who died in the World Trade Center. Each event participant pays tribute to an FDNY firefighter by climbing or walking the equivalent of the 110 stories of the World Trade Center. Event participation and help the NFFF maintain programs that support fire service survivors. Learn more about the stair climbs, which are located across the country.


Plan Your Own 9/11 Anniversary Observance

The 9/11 Memorial & Museum offers the following suggestions for how individuals can mark the 20-year anniversary.

Observe moments of silence: Observe a moment of silence on September 11 at any or all of the following times marking key moments on 9/11:

  • 8:46 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 11 into floors 93 through 99 of the North Tower.
  • 9:03 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crashed United Airlines Flight 175 into floors 77 through 85 of the South Tower.
  • 9:37 a.m.: Hijackers deliberately crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon, near Washington, D.C.
  • 9:59 a.m.: The South Tower collapsed.
  • 10:03 a.m.: After learning of the other attacks, passengers on United Airlines Flight 93 launched a counterattack on hijackers aboard their plane to try to seize control of the aircraft. In response, the hijackers crashed the plane into an empty field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
  • 10:28 a.m.: The North Tower collapsed.

Toll bells: Toll bells on September 11 at 8:46 a.m. or at each of the times listed above.

Read victims’ names aloud: The 9/11 Memorial Guide allows users to select specific victim names or groups of names, including names of individuals from a certain town or state, a specific company, or first responder agency.

Lower flags: Lower flags to half-staff on the anniversary of 9/11.

Separately, fire-police-ems.com also provides resources for fire departments interested in planning their own memorial events. The group offers a downloadable September 11 20th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony resource that details early-stage planning activities, day-of scheduling and even flag protocols. Download the guide here.


Note: If your department is holding a 20th-anniversary event that you would like to share with members of the fire service, please email editor@firerescue1.com with event details.

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