CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - On Wednesday, places throughout Charlottesville and Albemarle County offered ways for people to reflect on the events of September 11, 2001.

The Fontaine Avenue fire station in Charlottesville opened its doors to the public. On display at the station is steel from the World Trade Center, as well as part of rocks from the sites of the Flight 93 and Pentagon plane crashes.

Firefighters offered an ear to anyone who took up on the opportunity to come to the station and reflect on the tragic events of 18 years ago. Charlottesville Fire Chief Andrew Baxter says he hopes people take time to orient their lives toward giving back to their community.

“We think it’s important for the community to have the opportunity to reflect on the loss of that day, but also on the commitment of our firefighters today to our community,” Baxter said. “One of the things that drives people to go up the steps in a building that’s on fire while everybody else is leaving…is the sense of service.”

Baxter says committing your life to service is one way of honoring the sacrifice that was made by the New York firefighters 18 years ago. Some who were young on that day and are now in the line of service say it’s important to talk to those who came before you and get their stories.

“Talk to people who experienced it whether they were there firsthand or whether they experienced it remotely,” said Charlottesville firefighter Andrew Kniss, who was in fourth grade during the attacks. “It was kind of hard to comprehend everything that was going on.”


Part of the World Trade Center from 9/11 is on display at the Fontaine Avenue fire station in Charlottesville.

Students at the Covenant School began placing 2,977 flags early Wednesday morning to honor each victim of the attacks. Most of them were born after the tragedy, but they are keeping those who died in their thoughts.

“It’s crazy to think that most people at this school weren’t actually alive during 9/11…I wasn’t,” said Covenant School junior Lucy Griffin.

In all, 343 firefighters, 60 police officers, and eight paramedics died on 9/11. Kniss and fellow firefighters spoke with everyone who visited the memorial housed at the Fontaine Avenue station on Wednesday.

“This is really unique in that it brings together all three sites of the 9/11 event,” Kniss said.

The Fontaine Avenue fire station is open until 7 pm. Wednesday night if you need someplace to take a moment of silence or to speak to someone about your experience.