More than 200 people gathered Tuesday at the Mahoning Valley 9/11 Memorial Park on Raccoon Road in Austintown to mark the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
"We saw the worst of humanity that day,'' featured speaker and attack survivor Lisa Kleinhandler told the crowd. "But we stood united and showed the world we were determined to triumph in the face of evil."
The Long Beach, N.Y., resident was in New York the day two planes smashed into the World Trade Center towers.
More than 200 people gather at the Memorial Park to commemorate the anniversary of the attacks.
"The message that I would like to deliver here today is that we are all connected," she said. "We can heal our nation and world with love, forgiveness and gratitude."
In Trumbull County, a service was held at the Vienna Fire Department, where two steel beams from the towers are on display as part of a memorial.
In Austintown, retired Austintown fire Chief Andrew Frost told of the day from his perspective. He remembers his plans to go to Put-In-Bay and Catawba Island with friends. He and his group grabbed breakfast first at a local restaurant and it was there they saw the news on TV.
They immediately left the restaurant without breakfast and came back to organize and mobilize the department to be prepared for anything that might come their way.
"We weren't ready for something like that," he said.
Frost said the community and even the state are better prepared for large-scale emergencies now, although he hopes those systems will never have to be tested.
Ladder trucks from several communities held up a large American Flag at the back of the lot and formed an arch at the entrance.
Engine 293, a Fire Department of New York City truck that served at the World Trade Center on 9/11, was on display. Austintown residents Don and Brenda Jordan now own the truck.
Danyelle Crum of Youngstown sang the national anthem and later offered a rendering of Michael W. Smith's "There She Stands," a contemporary tribute to the flag.
A wreath was placed at the 9/11 monument, two marble pillars that resemble the World Trade Center towers.
There was a playing of ''Amazing Grace'' on bagpipes, followed by a 21-gun salute from the Youngstown Police Honor Guard. Playing of taps followed and then the Canfield Fire Department Honor Guard raised the flags.
Other presentations and speakers rounded out the evening, including the ringing of the bell to honor fallen firefighters as well as readings of the Fireman's and Police Officer's Prayers. The Rev. Rick Stauffer of Tabernacle Evangelical Presbyterian Church on Raccoon Road gave opening prayer and closing benediction.
Event organizer Austintown Fireman Fred Marcum gave the closing remarks and reflected tearfully on how he had resolved himself to leaving immediately for New York the moment he learned what happened. His wife, he said, understood, but his chief had different plans for him.
"However, I thought about it and pondered what he was telling me and I finally understood; this community's as important to me as any other. I dedicated my life to serving people in the Mahoning Valley and I was needed here."
After the ceremony, Marcum said he thinks 9/11 parks should be in every community and said such events prove that the United States is as united as ever, if not more so.
In Vienna, three members of the fire department traveled to New York last summer, where they were presented two steel beams from the Twin Towers to be used as part of a 9/11 memorial at the fire station.
Those two beams were part of Tuesday's 9/11 memorial ceremony hosted by the fire department and attended by about 100 people. The pieces were approved for the department by the New York Port Authority and the 9/11 families.
The beams have been placed at the front of the building as a reminder to the 3,000 people who lost their lives that day, which included 343 New York firefighters and paramedics and other rescuers.
Fire Lt. John Hinely said, ''That was a tragic day that, despite differences, brought us all together and united citizens with good will from all from around the world.
''There were those who rose to service and many gave their lives. This is our opportunity to remember those who lost their lives on 9/11 and pay tribute to the firefighters and EMS workers. Let this memorial always remind us so we never forget,'' Hinely said.
Hinely, along with Chief Richard Brannon and Assistant Chief Mike Haygood, traveled in July 2011 to New York to get the beams, said its has been 11 years since the terrorist attacks. The memorial was established to honor those who gave their lives the memorial, he said.
Brannon said the firefighters ''showed courage and unselfish acts of heroism that day when they faced the unknown and possible death when they rushed into the towers. They showed gallantry and bravery that few have ever known.''
Brannon said there is no word to describe how he felt when they were given the two beams for the Vienna station.
''The artifacts from hallowed ground made their way from New York City to Vienna. It is just a small reminder of what took place on Sept. 11, 2001,'' he said.
Township Trustee Rich Dascenzo said anytime someone drives by the fire station, the memorial will remind them of those firefighters, first responders and other safety forces who gave their lives that day 11 years ago.
The Rev. Gary Roy of First Assembly of God in Vienna said many men, women and children died that day in 2001 and many after from their injuries or from exposure to contaminates.
''We ask for prayers also for those who lost loved ones ... to the parents, children and spouses and family members,'' he said.
The ceremony included the laying of the wreath at the 9/11 memorial, and the ringing of the firefighter bell.