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Posted on: August 31, 2021

City Fire prepares for 20th Anniversary of 9/11

American flag, fire trucks

Ceremony of Remembrance includes dedication of Survivor Tree and piece of steel from World Trade Center

On Saturday, September 11, the City of St. Augustine will continue the annual tradition of holding its Ceremony of Remembrance, a community gathering to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.  This year marks the 20th Anniversary, and the St. Augustine Fire Department will honor the day with two special dedications.

There will be a dedication of a “Survivor Tree” sapling planted in front of the fire station.   The sapling is a direct descendant of the one single surviving Callery pear tree, known as the “Survivor Tree,” that was discovered at Ground Zero in October 2001. The tree was severely damaged, with snapped roots and burned and broken branches, but was rehabilitated by the New York City Department of Parks and given a chance at new life.

Also, a piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center site will be dedicated alongside the Survivor Tree sapling. 

The ceremony will be held at the St. Augustine Fire Department’s main station, 101 Malaga Street, on Saturday, September 11, at 8:30am, and will be broadcast live online on the Fire Department’s Facebook page,  The 15-minute program will include a presentation of the colors, invocation by Father Matt Marino, Rector of Trinity Parish, a musical presentation, remarks by St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles, and guest speaker Lt. Robert Aponte, Retired FDNY, Engine Company 320, Queens, NY.

The ceremony will conclude with a minute of silence at 8:45am, timed to coincide with the time the first plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center in 2001.  Then, Prevention Chief and Fire Marshal Bob Growick will conduct “Striking the Four 5’s” by ringing the department’s historic 1900 Fire Bell in four intervals of five rings each.  This is a time-honored tradition signifying the last alarm of a firefighter, and will be performed in honor of the firefighters, law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians who died on 9/11.

The city's first Ceremony of Remembrance was held just two days after 9/11 and has continued each year on the anniversary of the attack.  

For additional information, contact the Fire Department at 904.825.1098 or send an email to

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