SHERMAN OAKS ( — As the nation paused Wednesday to remember the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, dozens gathered in Sherman Oaks to commemorate the heroic actions of local firefighters who were part of the search and rescue operation in New York City.

Fire Station 88, home to California Task Force 1, deployed 70 members to Ground Zero on September 12, 2001, a day after hijacked jets crashed into the twin towers.

Even those who weren’t alive on that day know of the devastation.

“It was a very sad day and a lot of people died who didn’t deserve to die,” 10-year-old David Harris told KCAL9’s Andrea Fujii.

In addition to honoring those who perished September 11, 2001, Wednesday evening’s ceremony honored the members of Fire Station 88 – the first local team that traveled to Ground Zero.

Firefighters remember that they didn’t make the rescues they had hoped. Rather, they helped to recover bodies.

“Everything was gray. The smells – I mean you’ll never forget the burning smells,” L.A. City Fire Department Capt. Craig White said.

L.A. City Fire Department firefighter Hollyn Bullock recalled arriving to the scene, comparing it to a “war”.

While the station was honored in Sherman Oaks, flags also waved for 9/11 victims at Pepperdine University in Malibu. The school placed one flag on its lawn for each of the people killed in the attacks.

In Lower Manhattan, relatives recited the names of those who died when hijacked planes crashed into the towers, the Pentagon and in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

Bells tolled to mark the planes hitting the towers and the moments when the skyscrapers fell.

A moment of silence was also held at the U.S. Capitol.

By next year’s anniversary, a 9/11 museum is expected to be open beneath the memorial plaza in New York City.

One World Trade Center, the 104-story building under construction at the site of the attacks in Lower Manhattan, is scheduled for completion early next year.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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