BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — A field of flags. One hundred of them with every star and every stripe an emblem of remembrance for the lives lost 21 years ago.

“We were together as a country during that time and we’ve kind of lost that,” says Karla Thornton standing on the edge of the field. “I think we need to bring that back.”

The flags are the center of an all-day event at Peace Lutheran Church Saturday in Foley. Starting at nine o’clock that morning there will be military tributes and demonstrations, food and entertainment.

“It was the worse day in the history of the New York City Fire Department and equally it was the proudest day,” said retired New York City firefighter Billy Hayes. He was there the day the towers came down. “It is always an emotional time of year. I responded on 9/11. I lost many, many friends that day and since.”

He will share some of those memories when the Gulf Shores Fire Department hosts its inaugural 9/11 Memorial Ceremony and Tower Stair Climb starting at 8:45 Sunday morning at Gulf Place and then climbing the stairs of the 26-story Island Tower on West Beach.

In Gulf Shores on Sunday, the public is invited to the Gulf Shores Fire and Rescue inaugural 9/11 Memorial Ceremony and Tower Stair Climb with one goal in mind.

“Keep the memory of the 343 firefighters that lost their life that day doing their job,” says Asst. Fire Chief Melvin Shepherd. “Just remember them.”

When the towers fell that day, from the rubble rose a resolve never to forget. “I don’t over dwell on it,” says Hayes. “I probably think about it at some point every day.”

Ceremonies and remembrances help keep those memories alive while providing some comfort for those who survived.

Stay ahead of the biggest stories, breaking news and weather in Mobile, Pensacola and across the Gulf Coast and Alabama. Download the WKRG News 5 news app and be sure to turn on push alerts.