RALEIGH -- The Triangle began paying tribute to the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks early Wednesday morning. A color guard of Raleigh police and firefighters lowered the flag at City Hall to half-staff at 10:05 a.m. -- when the first World Trade Center tower fell a year ago.
Fire crews and police across the city turned on their emergency lights at the same time.
The North Carolina Symphony started playing even earlier in the morning, at 8:46 -- the moment the first plane hit the World Trade Center. The orchestra combined with four choirs to play Mozart's Requiem. The symphony joined musicians all over the world playing the song in simultaneous remembrance.
A 21-gun salute to the victims was part of the events at Fort Bragg. Emergency personnel from the home of the 82nd Airborne, Pope Air Force Base and the surrounding communities hosted the memorial.
The 82nd Airborne Chorus and the Army's Golden Knight's Paratrooper Team also participated in the musical tribute.
Governor Mike Easley and First Lady Mary Easley hosted the state's tribute to victims of Sept. 11. The governor -- surrounded by members of his cabinet -- asked Tarheels to rise to the occasion.
"Each citizen must accept responsibility to be better. We must strive to be a better nation, a better people," said Easley.
The governor said he doesn't expect all North Carolinians to be heroes.
"Do a little bit better everyday at what we do and culmination of all that will make us the great American nation next year that we have been in years past," Easley told NBC 17.
Patriotic songs such as Lee Greenwood's "God Bless The USA" helped get North Carolinians into the American spirit and, back on the Capitol grounds, participants remembered the great sacrifices made by so many on that fateful day.
"It's a time to remember, to reflect, to remember those who gave their lives, and remember what we should be thankful for in this country," said Captain Robert Carver of the North Carolina National Guard.
The colors of the day were red, white and blue. State employee Judy Dean said she definitely felt proud of her country and her fellow Americans.
"We owe it to them to honor them in this way," said Dean.
Veterans attending the ceremony appreciated the "thank you" Dean and others offered them.
"I was in Beirut October 23, of '83. I think this is a healing for me," said Phillip Ryman.