ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –- Two decades years after the horrific attacks, people all over the country still honor the nearly 3,000 lives that were lost during 9/11, including right here in New Mexico. Starting just before sunrise Sunday morning, firefighters gathered at the Bernalillo County Building for the 2nd Annual Fallen Firefighters 9/11 Memorial.

Deputy Chief Brian Rose with Bernalillo County Fire Rescue said, “It is something that obviously we can never forget. We also always need to remember that we’re we always have to be vigilant.”

A hundred empty helmets and bunker gear are seen lining the sidewalk. Each one had a name as a symbol of those firefighters who gave their life 21 years ago. The display was organized by Bernalillo County Fire Rescue (BCFR) and the Sheriff’s Office.

“We have the honor and the distinguishment, to be able to serve our community. But it’s, it’s always amazing to see that that service come back to us from the community,” said Lieutenant Robert Arguelles with BCFR.

Even though it’s been more than two decades, people still remember exactly what they were doing when the first plane crashed into the north tower.

Story continues below:

“Twenty-one years ago, this morning, I was driving [my daughter] to school. We were on Unser Boulevard, and had the radio on, and heard the news, and I immediately knew it was something horrible,” said TJ Perry, an Albuquerque resident.

Even Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham remembers what she was doing on this day, “I was actually on my way to work, and I remember, it’s that kind of emergency communication that you get that doesn’t seem real.”  

At Washington Federal Bank, at least 100 firefighters from around the metro climbed the stairs five times to symbolize the 110 floors fire crews climbed while trying to rescue as many people as they could before the towers crumbled. A total of 343 firefighters died that day.

“In the fire service, the number 343 is a sacred number. It’s a number that we hold near and dear to our heart, and we’re here today to remember those fallen firefighters by climbing these 110 stories. It’s incredibly important to remember,” said Lt. Tom Ruiz with Albuquerque Fire Rescue.

Even those who weren’t old enough to remember the attacks understand the significance of the day, “It wasn’t just an impact on us; it was impact on the world because everyone remembers it and everyone does know what happened,” said Deanne Guthrie, who was two years old at the time.

Mayor Tim Keller also thanked first responders in a tweet, “We are grateful for our first responders in Albuquerque and across the nation who are dedicated to saving others and keeping our community safe.”