- Associated Press - Thursday, September 11, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - Cities throughout Arizona paused Thursday to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Gov. Jan Brewer ordered that flags at all state public buildings and the State Capitol be flown at half-staff from sunrise until sunset.

An American flag that flew over Ground Zero at the World Trade Center in New York was raised on a fire truck’s ladder outside City Hall in downtown Phoenix. Inside the City Hall atrium, the Phoenix mayor, and the police and fire chiefs were among the dozens paying respect at a morning ceremony.

“Today, we honor all those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, and we especially honor those who ran to our rescue,” Mayor Greg Stanton said.

The event included a bell ringing, the folding of a U.S. flag and the placement of two wreathes. One was placed on the bell, which belongs to the city’s Hall of Flame Fire Museum, and the other on a piece of metal taken from Ground Zero.

The Tempe Exchange Club put up 3,000 U.S. flags in a “healing field” in Tempe Beach Park for the 11th year. Each flag honors a victim who died in the attacks. A card bearing the name of a victim along with a brief biography is tied to each flag. The display drew more people to the park than usual for a Thursday morning, according to a bicycle patrolman.

Mary Acevedo, 28, who has lived in Tempe for several years, visited the display for the first time. She brought her 1-year-old daughter and 2 ½-year-old son, who loves American flags. She wants her kids to eventually know about the events of 9/11. She commended the inclusion of names of victims and their stories in the display.

“You’re able to connect to the people and what happened,” Acevedo said. “It gets to your heart and makes you really understand. We need that as Americans.”

Kenny Caron said he was glad the display included not just first responders.

“I just don’t want to forget the regular people. They went to work one day and un unfortunate event happened. It could’ve happened to anyone of us,” Caron said.

Officials in Tucson held a 15-minute ceremony that included a flag-raising and the ringing of a memorial bell. Tucson firefighters led 300 people in the 9/11 Tower Challenge at the University of Arizona Stadium. Participants climbed 2,071 steps to honor the first responders who climbed stairs at the World Trade Center.

In Prescott, officials dedicated a 9/11 Survivor Tree outside a fire station.

More than 3,000 people were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked airliners and flew them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. A fourth aircraft crashed in Pennsylvania.

Commemorations were held across the country, including in New York City and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, and at the Pentagon.

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