NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 11: Family members gather around a reflecting pool in memory of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks September 11, 2010 in New York City. Thousands gathered to pay a solemn homage on the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Chang W. Lee-Pool/Getty Images)
The Menlo Park Fire Protection District and the Menlo Park Firefighters Association will this weekend continue their annual display of 343 flags in front of several fire stations in honor of the firefighters lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Each of the small flags that will be planted in front of four of the district's seven stations will be adorned with the name of one of the 343 New York City Fire Department firefighters who died in the tragedy nine years ago, according to a statement from the district.
The flags are meant to unite rescue workers and emergency responders nationwide under the theme "we will never forget," the statement said.
That undying sense of camaraderie among firefighters was clearly shown Friday and Thursday as emergency responders came from miles away to help extinguish a roaring fire that torched a San Bruno neighborhood after a high-pressure PG&E gas line exploded.
"It does reinforce that meaning," said Chief Harold Schapelhouman of the Menlo Park Fire Protection District, who himself was not relieved from the San Bruno fire site until about 3:30 p.m. today.
"There's a bond between all firefighters based on the danger we face and the service we provide to the community," Schapelhouman said. "We're running in when the public's running out."
The flags will be displayed in front of the district's Station 1 at 300 Middlefield Road in Menlo Park, Station 2 at 2290 University Ave. in East Palo Alto, Station 4 at 3322 Alameda de las Pulgas in Menlo Park and Station 6 at 700 Oakgrove Ave. in Menlo Park.
An oversized American flag will also be on display at a former auto dealership at 444 El Camino Real to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the attacks, the statement said.
That building - which was once Auto Row and has since been abandoned - was donated to the district for use as a training center by Stanford Properties, the statement said.