Elizabeth Djajalie sings the national anthem while Juneau Police Department officers and other stand at attention during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks in 2001 that killed 2,996 people. About 100 local first responders, political leaders and other people attended the ceremony that featured the raising of the flag at half-mast at 9:58 a.m., the same time on the East Coast the first World Trade Center collapsed on the day of the attack. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Elizabeth Djajalie sings the national anthem while Juneau Police Department officers and other stand at attention during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks in 2001 that killed 2,996 people. About 100 local first responders, political leaders and other people attended the ceremony that featured the raising of the flag at half-mast at 9:58 a.m., the same time on the East Coast the first World Trade Center collapsed on the day of the attack. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Remembering with awe those who served on 9/11

More than 100 local first responders and other residents pay tribute 22 years after attacks.

Local firefighter Michael Pierson said as a child the Twin Towers were a playground for him while his father worked there. On Monday, 22 years after the towers fell during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, he also described sense of awe about another aspect of the buildings.

“During these visits I became awestruck observing another unique community, the brotherhood of FDNY,” he said, referring to the New York City Fire Department. “It was the members of House 10, home of Engine 10 and Ladder 10 that were located at the base of the Trade Center, and these friendly men whose names I never knew.”

Michael Pierson, a Capital City Fire/Rescue firefighter, delivers an “invitation to remember” speech during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Michael Pierson, a Capital City Fire/Rescue firefighter, delivers an “invitation to remember” speech during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Pierson, who said the experience is why today he is a member of Capital City Fire/Rescue, spoke during an “invitation to remember” speech at a ceremony at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the attacks that killed 2,996 people. About 100 local police, firefighters, political leaders and other residents attended the ceremony under a light drizzle.

A flag was raised to half-mast while the national anthem was sung at 9:58 a.m., the same time on the East Coast the first of the Twin Towers collapsed during the attacks that resulted in the destruction of both towers, damage to the Pentagon and the crash of United Airlines Flight 93 in rural Pennsylvania. Before that ceremonial observance, people were offered a few minutes to greet lines of local first responders on either side of the memorial to thank them for their service.

Mattie and Ron Shriver of the Juneau Police Department prepare to hoist the flag to half-mast during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Mattie and Ron Shriver of the Juneau Police Department prepare to hoist the flag to half-mast during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

The invocation was given by Kirk Thorsteinson, a chaplain for the Alaska Army National Guard, who said individuals and communities are still grieving and in need of comforting 22 years after the attacks.

“No matter if we were born before or after, or served in the military, or as a first responder, all of us has been touched by the events of Sept. 11, 2001,” he said.

The ceremony concluded with the playing of “Amazing Grace” by father-and-son bagpipers Scott and Jake Marnon, and departing City Manager Rorie Watt laid a wreath at the base of the memorial.

A lit-up Capital City Fire/Rescue truck hoists a flag over Egan Drive on Monday morning to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

A lit-up Capital City Fire/Rescue truck hoists a flag over Egan Drive on Monday morning to commemorate the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

People commuting on Egan Drive early Monday morning also got a chance to offer a salute with horns to local firefighters manning a truck with its lights flashing and a flag hosted from the truck’s lift above the freeway.

Alaska is the center of heightened focus on this Sept. 11 anniversary, since President Joe Biden is scheduled to participate in a memorial ceremony on a military base in Anchorage. The stop, occurring while returning from a trip to India and Vietnam, is the first time a U.S. president has not attended a memorial ceremony at one of the three sites where planes crashed on that fateful day.

• Contact Mark Sabbatini at mark.sabbatini@juneauempire.com or (907) 957-2306.

Elizabeth Djajalie sings the national anthem during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Elizabeth Djajalie sings the national anthem during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau residents line up to thank local firefighters for their service during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Juneau residents line up to thank local firefighters for their service during a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Jake Marnon (left) and his father Scott play “Amazing Grace” at the conclusion of a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

Jake Marnon (left) and his father Scott play “Amazing Grace” at the conclusion of a ceremony Monday at the September 11th Memorial at Riverside Rotary Park commemorating the terrorist attacks on that date in 2001. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)

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