Van Alstyne fire and police staff were joined in their 9:46 a.m. 9/11 remembrance ceremony by other city staff Tuesday morning. The informal, but solemn moments around the Dorothy Fielder Park gazebo and flagpole were tender and respectful, with words spoken from both hearts and the minds.

Fire Chief Ryan Dockery remembered the 343 firefighters and 72 police officers who died in the World Trade Center and on the ground after four hijacked planes drove straight into the World Trade Center towers in New York and the Pentagon in Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001. The terroristic attacks were the most deadly on American soil in United States history. Dockery asked those with him for a moment of silence as each in his own way paid tribute to those first responders who lost their lives and to the many who survived and were able to assist and save lives at Ground Zero in New York and elsewhere.

Police Chief Tim Barnes asked that everyone remain vigilant and informed In order to avert such future attacks. Three paramedics/firefighters quietly but with full ceremony raised the American flag to full staff, then lowered it to half-staff where, Dockery said, it would remain throughout the day.

Joining the two chiefs were City Manager Lane Jones, City Clerk Jennifer Gould, Justice of the Peace Rita Noel, Public Works Director Steve White, in addition to the paramedic/firefighters on duty.

To the side was a young mother who held her son in her arms as they watched the gathering. Two American Airlines flight attendants, on their way to work, stopped when they saw, and recognized the get-together. They, too, watched in somber respect.