This date will be forever linked to the heroic individuals who serve our country as police officers, firefighters and emergency responders.
We can recall the images from Sept. 11, 2001, of fire crews rushing into the World Trade Center towers in New York City, many of them racing to their own deaths, and of emergency responders reacting to the horrors we faced at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., and in a field near Shanksville.
Just two days before the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, our region was again reminded of the dedication and courage of our police and fire crews as they battled a major blaze at the historic former Garman Hotel in Bellefonte.
Even as they were evaluating the severity of the fire and how to attack it, local fire company representatives were closing streets and establishing a perimeter around the Hotel Do De and High and Allegheny streets.
Police strung tape and set up barriers across streets and doorways to keep the many onlookers at a safe distance from the inferno and to allow firefighters the space to run hoses, set up ladder trucks and battle the blaze.
Bellefonte firefighters were joined by others from Alpha in State College, Milesburg, Pleasant Gap, Walker Township, Philipsburg, Boalsburg and Centre Hall. Bellefonte and Spring Township police worked the scene.
Firefighters on extension ladders hovered over the burning structure and poured water on the flames, offering a stark reminder that there is a danger to such work.
As the Do De structure burned, local officials marveled at the efficiency displayed by police officers, firefighters, fire police and ambulance crews. Several firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation.
They did a great job in containing the fire and not losing more buildings, Centre County Commissioner Chris Exarchos said. Every time you have these, its devastating.
The county-owned Courthouse Annex sits against the Hotel Do De on its south side.
After it purchased the former W.F. Reynolds & Co. Bank Building in 2004, the county made numerous renovations to convert the commercial property to a court setting.
One addition that should now have county officials smiling was the firewall inserted between the annex and the Hotel next door to keep fire should one ever happen from breaking through into the county property. That barrier did its job Sunday.
Despite the help from the firewall, firefighters did a great job of restricting the blaze to the Do De and its northern neighbor, the Garman Theatre building.
One Centre Daily Times staffer, upon seeing the smoke rising as he approached the borough from Benner Pike just after midnight, commented: It looks like the whole town is on fire.
Thankfully, that wasnt the case.
But with these older buildings built right against each other throughout the downtown, that could have been the story early Sunday morning in Bellefonte.
These buildings are over a 100 years old, Bellefonte Borough Manager Ralph Stewart said. Sometimes when they start, its hard to get them out. We could have lost a whole block.
The fire was a tragedy, but the loss was in property and dollars not human lives.
We owe our police, fire and emergency teams a huge thanks on Sept. 11 and every day for the dangerous and important work they do.