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A tragedy remembered in Guilderland

Fire departments in the Town of Guilderland honored those who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, by simultaneously activating their sirens to remember the first strike on the World Trade Center, at 8:46 a.m., the time the north tower was hit.

The Altamont, Fort Hunter, Guilderland, Guilderland Center, North Bethlehem, McKownville and Westmere Fire Departments, with the help of the Guilderland Police Department's Communications Division, participated in the townwide memorial, according to information provided by the Guilderland Fire Chiefs Association.

A radio broadcast was heard at each department, and it called for a moment of silence, and asked everyone to remember the losses on that day, as well as those still fighting for American freedom.

We would like to honor all of our fallen comrades, firefighters, police, all emergency responders, as well as all those civilians who perished in the attack, the broadcast read.

The Altamont Fire Department set up a "fallen firefighter" display in front of its trucks, which consisted of firefighters boots facing backwards and a coat and helmet, set up on a chair, Mark Huggins, of the Altamont Fire Department said.

He said they have set up this display every year since the event.

Small prayer services were held at 8:46 a.m., 1 p.m. and 6 p.m. featuring religious leaders from different faiths.

Sean Maguire, a firefighter at the Westmere Fire Department stressed the importance of not letting time erase the memory of the tragic events of Sept. 11.

"We have a habit of forgetting the magnitude of 9/11," Maguire said. "We should always keep this day as a reminder of the ultimate sacrifice, [the rescuers] made."

Don Albright, a firefighter and commissioner at the Guilderland Center Fire Department for 36 years, said it is difficult to think of the loss of fellow firefighters.

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