Santa Monica will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11 attacks this Saturday with an expanded, but still brief, ceremony Downtown.

The city’s police and fire services have traditionally marked the day with brief services at the police station and neighborhood fire stations that included a moment of silence, lowering of the flag and a radio call. Small groups of neighbors have often gathered at the nearest station to observe the day.

However, this year’s event has been expanded and formalized in recognition of the 20th anniversary.

Residents are invited to attend on Saturday, September 11, at 8 a.m. at Fire Station 1, 1337 7th Street.

The ceremony will begin with an honor guard presentation of colors, then include remarks by Interim Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe, remarks from the Police Department, a statement by Mayor Sue Himmelrich, a prayer / moment of silence from the Santa Monica Fire Department Chaplain and a brief history of the Bell Ringing Ceremony and Present Arms by the SMFD Honor Guard Commander.

The event is scheduled to last about 30 minutes.

The brief and solemn remembrance ceremony is consistent with the International Association of Fire Chief’s recommended protocols for the day and while the public is invited to attend, they can also watch the live stream on the Santa Monica Fire Department (, www.facebook/santamonicapd) and City’ of Santa Monica’s ( Facebook accounts.

Chief Knabe said his remarks will focus on the role the Fire Department plays in the community and the connections between different groups.

“You know, I think it brings everything into perspective for first responders, because, you know, any given day any given moment, you can be responding to something that you don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said. “And that’s what you do every day, you come to work, and are there for the community, no matter what the risk is. And this day specifically just brings it all together because of the lives lost, not only the Fire Department but Police Department and other public agencies, and then all the people in both towers that died and, the fact the plane crashed at the Pentagon and everywhere.”

Lieutenant Rudy Flores said some SMPD personnel will gather in front of the Public Safety Facility at 4 a.m. on Sept. 11 for a morning 5K run ending under the Santa Monica Pier. Officers will also participate in the 8 a.m. ceremony.

“To always remember the tragic events and show reverence for all the lives lost on 9/11/2001. A reminder that in the face of such pain and adversity, emerged courageous acts of heroism and perseverance,” he said. “To honor the ongoing recovery, healing and resilience of the survivors, family members and loved ones. 9/11 motivated many to join Police and Fire Departments, and even 20 years later, it continues to be a driving force for many public servants entering the profession. We will never forget.”

The ceremony will follow LA County Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 protocols and residents are asked to stay home if you have been exposed to or are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Unvaccinated persons are strongly recommended to wear a mask during the event. All persons are required to wear a mask when indoors.

Matthew Hall

Matthew Hall has a Masters Degree in International Journalism from City University in London and has been Editor-in-Chief of SMDP since 2014. Prior to working at SMDP he managed a chain of weekly papers...