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'Field of Flags' honors fallen

A family shows respect for the flag during a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the ninth annual Field of Flags 9/11 memorial Saturday in Albany.

A family shows respect for the flag during a performance of “The Star Spangled Banner” at the ninth annual Field of Flags 9/11 memorial Saturday in Albany.

ALBANY -- In memory the fallen, in appreciation of those who serve and for the resilience of the nation -- the Field of Flags ceremony touched the hearts of those in attendance Saturday night.

The ninth annual observance of the firefighters, police officers and victims who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks drew people in to pay respect at the Albany Mall. In the malls' west field 1,000 American flags flew to represent the nearly 3,000 who died in the attack.

"I'm here because of all those firefighters, police and emergency personnel who gave their lives that day," said guest speaker U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Dan W. Hammack. "They gave their lives for our country and others continue to keep us safe while we sleep."

Many of the flags were adopted by people as tributes to relatives who were lost or who continue to serve in the wars that followed the attack.

"My son is a Marine in Afghanistan," said Diane Jourdan, standing next to a flag with the name of her son attached, Lt. Phillip Jourdan.

Many people brought their children to the event, and among them was the Gilmer family, dad Scott, mom Rebecca and daughter 8-year-old Rachel.

"I brought my daughter here to take some pictures," said Scott Gilmer. "I want her to remember what happened and to see the flags and know what they mean to us."

Appearing at the event, the Westover High School Patriots Choir sang "Prayer for the Children." The song was written by Kurt Bestor a missionary in war-torn Serbia in the 1970s according to the writer's website kurtbestor.blogspot.com.

One of the singers, Lyman Chen, was too young to remember the attacks. He said he was honored to sing at the Field of Flags.

"This might be a bad memory for many from the past," Chen said. "But it is good to remember the good that came out of it. I would say a deeper appreciation for the police, firefighters, medical techs and the military that do so much to help us."