The mood of firefighters at the Martinez Fire Department on Saturday was much as it usually is on busy days of answering phones, finishing paper work, repairing the fire truck and completing other assignments.
But at 10 a.m., the restless mood quickly changed when Capt. Dino F. Cesarini asked firefighters of the Desoto Road station to meet him outside around the flagpole for a moment of silence.
"This is a tribute to all of those who perished on 9-11," he said before the ceremony. "We just don't want to forget to include people who died in the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa. We will commemorate and memorialize their lives. We shall never forget."
After the moment of silence, Cesarini, who broadcast the ceremony over department radios, stood with other firefighters as they listened to the sound of a ringing bell.
The tradition of the five-five-five, in which a bell rings in three sets for a total of 15 times, was for the 343 firefighters who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks three years ago.
"We're a brotherhood," Cesarini said. "You know them all personally. When you lose one, you lose a brother or a sister. We all hurt."
But he stressed that the Sept. 11 ceremony is not only about remembering fallen servicemen and servicewomen.
"We lost Americans," he said. "We lost citizens."
Martinez firefighter Paul Casey said he'll never forget what he was doing on Sept. 11, 2001.
"I was working on a construction site listening to some music on the radio," he said. "The music stopped and then (we) were told that a plane crashed into the twin towers."
After the news spread, Casey said, all of the construction site workers began shaking their head in disbelief.
"It was a scary moment," he said. But he said the tragedy brought him closer to the fire department.
"It was devastating, but it brought everyone (including) the fire department closer together," he said.
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