The annual flag brigade in Lafayette happened Friday afternoon and many families arrived to pay their respects.
The squeak of the flag pole, the boom of a bell, sounds that still resonate with first responders 14 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
"The emotion comes back all these years later and it's something that I think we'll draw on for the rest of our lives," said Pleasanton police Chief David Spiller.
Many Bay Area departments sent crews to help in the search efforts. Others served with their solidarity.
"A lot of departments sent firefighters to sit in on funerals because there were so many of them and there wasn't enough people to go to them," said Livermore Pleasanton Fire Department Chief Ruben Torres.
It's a family.
Bonnie Voges Popick knows well. She lives in Pleasanton, but comes from a long line of New York firefighters. Her father was a fire chief in New York.
"We lost many friends and family. One I'm thinking of specifically lost both sons and a daughter that day, so it's a very personal connection for me," said Voges Popick
A connection also felt by those who promise to never forget. Lafayette's flag brigade covered an overpass along Highway 24, showing how even though we're separated by great distance, we are one nation.
"It was a terrible thing to happen, but it's good to remember because people put their lives on the line every day to protect us," said Walnut Creek resident Chris Whittington.
Remembering and reminding ourselves, "to serve others is truly one of the highest callings," Torres added.