A short, but solemn gathering brought together emergency responders and the community they serve at Niskayuna Town Hall on Friday, Sept. 11.
There were two moments of silence and a short, nondenominational prayer for peace. Then, several emergency service personnel took turns ringing a silver bell that glinted in the morning sun.
The bell ringing is a tradition of remembrance, reminiscent of the way fire calls used to be transmitted in New York City. The 5-5-5-5 call, now ceremonially used, once meant a firefighter had fallen in the line of duty.
On the morning of the 11th, those observing the ceremony would have needed no context to understand the weight of the clanging silver bell. The crowd was silent as each of four white-gloved men stepped forward, each ringing the bell five times, slowly, letting the last strike linger in the still air.
Text and photos by Gazette reporter Rebecca Isenhart.