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9/11 Anniversary - Services Mark Solemn Day
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Sunday, Sept. 11 will mark the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington, DC and a pair of local fire departments will host memorial services this coming weekend. Thousands of American lives were lost, from passengers on the hijacked jets to people working in the targeted buildings to the responding rescue personnel.

On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Escalon Fire Department will have its annual remembrance, gathering at the flagpole outside the 1749 Coley Avenue station at 9:11 a.m.

"We will have a fallen firefighters bell ceremony, Taps and tentatively, bagpipes," said Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District Chief Rick Mello.

Fire Department Chaplain Pastor Jim Davis will lead the brief prayer ceremony and all are invited to attend. Mello said they opted to have the ceremony on Saturday so as not to conflict with people attending church services on Sunday.

The anniversary memorial has been hosted at Escalon for the last several years and typically draws at least a couple dozen people. This year, the remembrance will be the same day as the downtown Autumn Cruise hosted by the local Lions Club. Mello said the two events occurred on the same day last year as well. All those attending the car show are invited to stop by the firehouse for the ceremony.

In Farmington, a service is scheduled for Sunday morning, Sept. 11.

"We have never had one, so this will be a first for us," Farmington Fire Chief Conni Bailey said.

Firefighters will be gathering at the firehouse flagpole, at the intersection of Highway 4 and Escalon-Bellota Road, at 8:30 a.m. and will have a brief ceremony starting at 8:46 a.m., the time the first of the two Twin Towers of the World Trade Center was struck in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001 when terrorist-hijacked planes slammed in to the financial district landmarks.

"We'll be lowering the flag to half-mast and have a moment of silence," Bailey said. "John Kalebaugh will be reading the firefighters' prayer."

Following the brief ceremony, there will be refreshments at the firehouse.

Later in the morning, the Farmington United Methodist Church will host its church services for the day at the firehouse starting at 11 a.m., with a luncheon afterward open to the community.

A variety of memorial services are typically hosted across the country on 9/11 and this year marks the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. The Twin Towers were destroyed, a plane flew into and damaged the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, just outside Washington, DC and a fourth plane, also hijacked, went down in a field in rural Pennsylvania when passengers overtook the hijackers and forced the plane down short of its intended target, which officials speculated was another Washington landmark, possibly the White House or the Capitol.