The first responders, including members of the Chico Police Department, EMS responders and butt fire cadets, took part in the 20th anniversary tribute on September 5 at Station 5 on Saturday morning.
The cadets, along with Chico Fire Department personnel, took part in the annual ring of the bell at Chico Station 5.
Also in hand was Mary Mitchell, whose older brother, New York City firefighter Paul Mitchell, was killed on September 11, 2001.
His picture was vandalized at the 9/11 Memorial at Station 5 in March.
“It’s not just about memory,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking, the scale of September 11 in our world and in our lives as Americans – as global citizens.”
He said it affected America so deeply, it also affected more than 90 countries that lost people that day.
“We are human beings and we have become a world community,” he said. “It’s a shared grief, but it’s also a shared responsibility to be a good person.”
He said his brother was on his way home when Mitchell said he had seen at least one of the two planes – both of which had probably crashed into the tower.
“He went back to his old firehouse at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge, got some gear and went back again,” he said.
But he said the most important story of the day was everyone’s own story.
“How did 9/11 affect you? Where have you been,” he asked. “Someone lost a phone call that day. Or who was there? Or was on a plane that did not land but was caught in Newfoundland.
He asked how all these people recognize the enormity of the importance of human life?
“And the reality is that there is an evil force in this world and we have to build ourselves from our own experience to deal with that darkness from our own light.”
Chico Fire Department Chief Steve Standridge and Chico Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Ginko Mitchell spoke at the event.
Zinc appealed to attendees that those who died that day and those who responded that day only died of a September 11-related illness to help others.
“Never forget how we as a nation have become one in supporting each other, to fight against those who have invaded our homeland,” he said. “Members of every race, background and color all stood together against a common enemy. We were all Americans and we were all Americans.
Strandridge followed both Zinc and Mitchell, saying it was hard work to follow.
“We came to pay our respects to those who died that day,” Strandridge said. “This site is a testament to the self-sacrifice of your local first responders who dedicate themselves to protecting and serving Chico Firefighters, Cal-Firefighters, Chico PD, Butt Sheriff and Butt EMS who come to work every day.”
He added that they are not formed separately from the communities they serve.
“They have different beliefs, opinions and ideologies – and trust me when I tell you that there is a strong discussion about the myriad problems around the kitchen table in every fireplace in the fireplace,” he said. “But when the tunes go off, to respond to your emergency, they remove those differences to help our community members in their greatest time.”