COSTA MESA — Interim Fire Chief Kirk Dominic remembers what it was like in the days following 9/11.
Standing in his backyard in Fountain Valley, it was eerily silent.
"There were no planes flying overhead. It was so quiet," Dominic said Thursday. "When I see a high-rise burning, or see a plane, I think about that day."
Costa Mesa firefighters said seemingly every day they're reminded about the terrorist attacks in New York, the Pentagon and the crash in Pennsylvania, when more than 300 firefighters were killed.
Many more have died in the 10 years since from medical complications related to the recovery effort, Dominic noted, and they need to be honored as well.
Thursday morning, the Mesa Consolidated Water District recognized Costa Mesa's firefighters during a flag-raising ceremony on Placentia Avenue and a group cheer by Estancia High School's cheerleaders as a way to remember the terrorist attacks.
FOR THE RECORD:
An earlier version incorrectly stated the Costa Mesa High School cheerleaders were at the event. In fact, it was Estancia High School.
District workers and firefighters raised the American flag, said the Pledge of Allegiance and held a moment of silence.
Mesa Water President Fred Brockmiller credited the water district's staff for organizing the event.
Mesa Water inspector Art Hernandez said it was to pay respects to all firefighters. He remembered coming into work 10 years ago and not having a clue about what was happening.
"For whatever reason, I didn't have the radio on when I went into work that morning," he said.
When he got in, everyone was upstairs watching the attacks unfold.
"It's changed the fire service, it's changed the country," said Costa Mesa Fire Capt. Dave Kearly.
Not only are there drills that train multiple agencies in a wide area to communicate during large-scale disasters or attacks, but firefighters and other emergency personnel are taught to be constantly aware of their surroundings.
Be it through training, watching multiple wars on the news or simply figuring out how to explain that day to a child, firefighters and the public find constant reminders of that Tuesday morning.
"I think it will always be a black mark on the calendar," said Battalion Chief Kevin Diamond.