ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) - An Albemarle County fire station is remembering the lives lost on September 11, 2001, as the 18th anniversary approaches later in the week. On Sunday, firefighters and community members gathered together for a special service to reflect on the tragic events that changed our nation forever.

The North Garden Volunteer Fire Company hosted the service in partnership with Covesville Baptist Church. Since 9-11 falls on a weekday this year, holding the service on a Sunday gives people the opportunity who may be working to come and pay tribute.

First responders are not preparing for an emergency here at the fire station, but rather remembering one of the largest in our country's history.

“Remembering the past motivates and inspires the present to impact the future,” Burton Corley, pastor of Covesville Baptist Church.

To commemorate the tragedy of September 11, 2001, firefighters opened their station to the public for a special service led by Pastor Burton Corley from Covesville Baptist Church. University of Virginia cadets started it off by raising the colors and the singing of the national anthem.

Heavy hearts and minds filled the room as people took a moment of silence to reflect. They then sang and shared their memories of 9/11 - a day some don't even remember.

“We actually have a generation that's coming through. We've got new members now that weren't born when that happened, okay, so some of us live history, we want to remember that, but understand how much stronger we've become,” George Stephens, chief of the fire company.

Thousands of lives were lost on that day 18 years ago, but the heroic first responders on the ground saved so many more.

"We want to remember those who came to rescue and to help and how that's continued to affect us as a nation,” said Stephens.

"To me - I think of 9/12 and who we were as a nation, that really showed we remembered who we were,” said Corley. "9/12 we were the United States of America under God, everybody came together, we forgot things that divided us."

Corley hopes people can once again stand united without having to weather another tragedy first.

“It shouldn't take a horrific event like that for us to remember who we are as a nation and as a people, said Corley.

Following the service, there was food and fellowship for people to meet and greet one another. This is the second year of the service and the pastor says they hope to have it for many more years.