The ringing of the bells is a firehouse tradition that marks the last call to duty and on Tuesday morning, ten rings echoed in Elysian Park where firefighters and police officers gathered to honor the memory of the hundreds of public servants that died in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.
LA Police Chief Charlie Beck says it is important to remember the men and women he called heroes not just on the anniversary of 9/11 but every day.
“We will never forget the sacrifices that the few have made for the many,” Beck said.
An emotional Beck spoke of the bond between the department and the people it serves.
“We will do what it takes to protect and serve this city,” he said.
The ceremony took place in the shadow of a 28-foot steel beam salvaged from the rubble of the World Trade Center.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the morning of the attack is forever fixed in Americans’ hearts.
“They were attacking us, attacking our families. They were attacking our way of life, attacking our freedoms,” Villaraigosa said.
Villaraigosa said Sept. 11 – now dubbed Patriots Day – is a time to celebrate the American spirit.
“In the face of that terror, in the face of an attack meant to destroy our way of life – we did not break. We did not bend. Instead, we came together. We stood side by side,“ he said,
There was also a practical message. That Los Angeles is better prepared for disasters – both natural and man-made – than it was 11 years ago. The city has worked to improve communication and collaboration between various first responders across Southern California.
LA Fire Chief Brian Cummings encouraged civilians to get involved and become “partners” in public safety.
“Get to know the firefighters and police that serve the community where you live,” Cummings said. “Visit your local fire station. Talk to them, find out who they are and find out how they can help you to prepare.”