Representatives from Philadelphia’s police, fire and prisons departments gathered in Old City to mark the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and remember the first responders who lost their lives that day.

In a ritual that has not changed much since 2002, the honor guards of the departments lined up on 2nd Street outside the Fireman’s Hall Museum. The procession set off at exactly 9:59 a.m. — the moment that the south tower of the World Trade Center collapsed on Sept. 11, 2001.

To the music of the Philadelphia Police and Fire Department Pipes and Drums, the marchers made their way to the courtyard of the Betsy Ross House, where city officials rang a memorial bell to remember the New York City firefighters, paramedics, police officers and civilian victims of the attacks.

Speakers stressed the importance of continuing to remember the horrific toll of the attacks and the sacrifice of those who came to the rescue.

Interim Philadelphia Police Commissioner Christine Coulter, gesturing toward a class of preschoolers who attended the event, said it was particularly important to pass the memories to those who weren’t yet born at the time of the attacks.

“And I hope that future generations will never have to share memories of the day their country was attacked,” she said, her voice breaking. —WHYY

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