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Remembering the lives lost on 9/11 at ceremonies in Flanders, Calverton

At somber ceremonies in Calverton and Flanders Saturday morning, residents, town officials and local first responders paid tribute to the lives lost in the Sept. 11 attacks 20 years ago.

In Flanders, a bell rang at 8:46 a.m., signaling when the first plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. A second bell rang at 9:03 a.m. to remember the moment the second place struck the South Tower.

Jael Bjerkass, the Flanders Fire Department chaplain, spoke about why it’s important to memorialize tragic events such as 9/11.

“The reality is we need to learn from our own history,” he said. “Most of us here are old enough to remember that day. We remember vividly the scenes that happened, we remember the towers smoking, we remember the Pentagon getting hit like it was yesterday.”

He spoke about how the tragedy motivated people to be better and how they wouldn’t let an attack based on hate define who they are.

A wreath was placed at the memorial where two pieces of steel recovered from the wreckage of the World Trade Center now stand in memory of that tragic day.

In Calverton, at Riverhead Town’s World Trade Center Memorial site, town officials and residents again gathered to remember the lives lost. Supervisor Yvette Aguiar reflected on the “darkest day in American history.”

“Over 3,000 men and women including hundreds of America’s heroic first responders left home Sept. 11, 2001, never realizing they would fall victim to a senseless, unspeakable act of terrorism against our country,” she said. “They never returned home to their loved ones.”

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