Seventeen years after the World Trade Center attacks, California came together as a community to honor the lives that were taken Sept. 11, 2001.
Nearly 150 residents of Moniteau County gathered in front of City Hall to pay their respects and remember that fateful day.
This gathering was a first for the county. The ceremony was opened by the iconic Alan Jackson song, "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning?" A song played most often in the months following the attacks.
Members of the Jefferson City Fire Department then presented the colors, with the California High School Pinto Pride Band performing in the background.
St. Paul's Lutheran Church Pastor Evandro Kopper then led the ceremonial invocation.
"As a pastor, I find the best way to remember days like this one is to pause in God's word," Kopper said. He read Psalm 46, a passage that reminds readers of God's strength and protection.
A minute-by-minute review of the events was then read by Dean Reichel, New Bloomfield agriculture teacher. Reichel went on to explain to attendees how important it is to remember this day.
"I asked my juniors and seniors in class how old they were on that day," Reichel said. "The range I got was from five-days-old to one year. It is highly important we take time to remember what happened.
"We can never forget. That's why we need to keep honoring the event, honor the fallen and pray it never happens again."
It was then that five members of the Pinto Pride band took to the steps to read the 343 names of the firefighters who lost their lives in the line of duty on that day.
The students who read the list were Darby Hudson, Aaron Spillars, Colton Foss, Madison Thompson, Amy Haslag and Kendra Dunham.
A meal was provided to the community, with a free-will donation collecting more than $700 for Toys for Tots of Moniteau County. David Wyatt, who orchestrated the event, explained why this group in particular was chosen.
"I saw a real need in the community, in this county," Wyatt said. "There are so many different ways to give back and fix that need, so this year we'll donate all proceeds to Toys for Tots in Moniteau County. What with the fall through with Toys 'R' Us, I just wanted to help the firemen continue to help the community that way."