By CBSLA Staff

TORRANCE (CBSLA) — Firefighters, police officers, and members of the community gathered before dawn Saturday to mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

(credit: CBS)

The solemn event took place in the pre-dawn darkness in front of a flag-draped Torrance City Hall. A few dozen gathered to bow their heads and listen to a bagpipe player open the ceremony.

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“Pardon the emotions, but it’s an important day to pass that down to our kids,” one attendee said.

On such a solemn morning, Doug Borstel wanted to stay in the back of the crowd. His nephew had been on the 101st floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower when a plane came crashing through.

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“It’s kind of weird, I was just there two weeks ago,” he said. That visit is when he made an etching of his nephew’s name at the memorial – Kenneth Frederick Rice.

Some of the larger Sept. 11 memorials that would have taken place in Southern California for such a significant milestone were canceled due to the elevated levels of COVID-19. But the city of Torrance felt it important to continue on with its ceremony, to keep the memories alive, and the conversation going.

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“It’s something we should never forget. We have to remember this,” Mayor Patrick Furey said. “Almost 3,000 souls going about their daily jobs and it was over just like that.”