Bay Area remembers 9/11 attacks 20 years later

People across the Bay Area gathered to honor the victims’ and remember the tragic events of September 11th.

It was twenty years that terrorists attacked our nation, taking lives in the towers of New York, the Pentagon in our nation's capital, and a plane that went down in Pennsylvania.

Even though those tragic events happened back east, the shockwaves were felt across the nation.

So, everywhere, people remembered.

More than 200 people attended a remembrance ceremony at Oak Hill Park in Danville.

In Union City, people gathered to honor the victims of flight 93, and read their names.

In San Francisco, they recognized not only the lives lost on that fateful day, but the continuing loss of life of those who worked what they call "the pile," sifting through rubble to recover bodies.

"Since this event, and this is pretty staggering, 70 to 80% of those that worked that incident have gotten ill and many have died," said Jeanine Nicholson, San Francisco’s Fire Chief.

A now retired firefighter who went to ground zero says the terrible images are burned in his eyes.

"You know when we came back I made a comment that if my eyes could speak they would tell you what it meant to be there.  It was something that reality is indescribable, said Jeffrey Moreno.

In Alameda, about 50 people attended a small gathering aboard the USS Hornet, which included a wreath throwing.

A veteran who served aboard the ship said it’s his duty to remember what happened on September 11th.

"I helped to defend the country and this is all part of something that is very important to me," said Grant Hellar.

San Jose had what may have been the Bay’s biggest ceremony, as firefighters, dignitaries and the public reflected on a day most will never forget.

"For each of us, the first news of the horrific attacks have been indelibly seared in our minds, our memories.  It was a "where were you moment?," said San Jose Mayor, Sam Liccardo.

"In the hours, days and weeks ahead, the total numbers of lives lost would be astounding and the total number of firefighter casualties inconceivable," said San Jose Fire Chief, Robert Sapien.

On a day where bell ringing is typically reserved for fallen firefighters, the chief extended the gesture to the community at large.

Wherever memorials were held, the same message echoed through all of them: "we must never forget."