In a now annual tradition at the Contra Costa Fire Department in Clayton, 343 flags represent each firefighter killed in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. At first it was just flags -- now it includes photos and biographies.
"It's definitely an emotional task to take care of," Captain Ben Smith said. "We look at each of the guys and I start to recognize them year after year. They're guys just like the rest of us that work here, they are dads, soccer coaches, husbands, sons."
In San Jose, people paid tribute in a different way. Volunteers are part in a national day of service and remembrance in honor of the victims of Sept. 11.
A group organized by Sacred Heart Community Service built gardens for low income families to grow organic fruit and vegetables.
The Red Cross in Walnut Creek urged people to give back by giving blood.
Gov. Schwarzenegger added his own plea to all Californians.
"I would like to ask all you to renew this commitment to serve and strengthen your community," he said.
Elsewhere there were more traditional memorials.
In Union City there was a reading of the names of everyone on board Flight 93, which was headed for San Francisco when it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
And the Lafayette Flag Brigade held its eighth annual 9-11 remembrance. It is the largest overpass flag display in the state.
"It means a lot to me that there are people here who believe that this country is really worth defending and loving," Caroline Tsuyuki said.
Written and produced by Jennifer Olney