Friday morning, bells began ringing in downtown Cumming at 9:59 a.m.
The time represented the moment when the first World Trade Center tower began its collapse on Sept. 11, 2001.
Chimes rang out 403 times, once for each public safety worker who lost his or her life in the tragedy nine years ago.
Fire Chief Danny Bowman led the annual remembrance ceremony, which took place at the Forsyth County Administration Building.
“Today, we are here to remember that by the end of the day, nearly 3,000 people had lost their lives,” Bowman said.
About 60 people, mostly elected officials and county employees, looked on as the sheriff’s office and fire department honor guards lowered flags to half-staff.
Forsyth County commissioners silently watched the United States flag being lowered as cars bustled through the Cumming square.
“As always, the ceremony was simple, to the point and very moving,” said Charles Laughinghouse, commission chairman.
Each year officials take time out to reflect on the historic event that Laughinghouse said should never be forgotten.
“It’s a very somber day for this country,” he said. “It should be a cause for thought and remembrance.”