The sound of the ceremonial fire bell at the Directorate of Emergency Services could be heard early this morning as DES held its annual 9/11 remembrance on Tuesday.
The Fort Meade Fire Department hosted the remembrance ceremony, which was attended by a small gathering of members of the Fort Meade community.
Fire Deputy Chief James Evans read an accounting of the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, which cost the lives of 411 emergency responders. More than 2,563 civilians from 90 different countries also lost their lives.
“It has been 17 years since terrorists turned hijacked jets into weapons of mass destruction,” Evans said. “Never forget.”
DES Chaplain Lt. Jeremiah Irvin, executive officer to the Fort Meade police chief, gave the invocation and benediction.
“This day does not pass in the calendar without our remembering,” Irvin said. “Each year, on this day, we remember images of death and destruction. Images that human eyes were never meant to see. A nation shook to its core.”
“We remember our own feelings of emptiness as our sense of security, as our own confidence in the predictable order of life and work was radically disturbed,” he said. “We remember the heroism of the many that lost their lives in saving others.”
Evans then recounted the exact time of each attack on the North Tower and South Tower of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the demise of Flight 93 in Somerset County, Penn., after the bravery of those aboard diverted the terrorists’ attack.
The brief ceremony ended with the recital of the Fire Fighter’s Prayer and the ringing of the bell.
Evans said both are traditions that “reflect respect and honor to those who gave their lives to their duty.”
The ringing of the bell, Evans said, represents the end of the emergency and the return to quarters, and is usually three rings of the bell, three times.
The tradition dates back to 1865 in the New York City Fire Department to inform the rank and file of the death of President Abraham Lincoln, he said.
Protection Chief John Trottman then rang the bell three times, in sets of three.
The ceremony ended with Irvin reciting the Fire Fighter’s Prayer, as well as the Police Officer and Soldiers’ Prayers.