CHICAGO (WLS) -- The country paused Monday to remember the attacks on September 11, 2001, including here in Chicago.
A number of events were held across the Chicago area to honor the nearly 3,000 victims who died on that tragic day.
The somber sound of a bell tolling rang out at Engine 42 in River North as Chicago firefighters commemorated 9/11 Monday morning.
Bagpipes also played at the ceremony outside Engine 42 at Illinois and Dearborn.
Mayor Brandon Johnson and other elected officials were there to remember.
"It's important to try to not only remember the lives and honor the heroes of the day but to rekindle that spirit of what it means to truly come together as a nation," 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez said.
Monday marks 22 years since the September 11 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.
September 11 is nationally recognized as Patriot Day, a day of service and remembrance.
Clay Bullard who is visiting Chicago from South Carolina, stopped to watch the ceremony.
"I just think of all the families who lost loved ones during this time," Bullard said. "The sadness, the pain that they're reliving all over today even though it's been 22 years now."
District Chief Michael Spencer watched the events of 9/11 unfold on the news after his shift ended. He remembers the shock.
"We put our lives on the line every day and we just don't know, you know," Chief Spencer said. "Who would have thought that those buildings being that big would collapse?"
September 11th is sobering for first responders and it weighs heavy on their hearts.
Dekalb Walcott was a teenager when 9/11 happened. Now he's a Chicago firefighter EMT.
"You never know when it will be your last day," Walcott said. "You never know what you're gonna run into so always never take anything for granted. Never be complacent. Always be ready."
In Naperville, the annual gathering was held indoors because of the weather, but it was no less well-attended and no less poignant.
The event honors the victims, heroes and survivors of 9/11, including Don Basco of Northwest Indiana, who escaped the World Trade Center.
"I just went down those stairs in hope of getting out and seeing my family again," he said.
In River Forest, LemonAid has become a community-based tradition. It began in 2002, and brings together residents for a block party designed both to commemorate the events of 9/11 and to raise money for various local charities that serve children in need.
In Palatine, residents and first responders alike gathered at the firefighters' memorial.
"We dedicate this day to those who fell and those who continue to carry the memory of their loved ones," said retired firefighter Mark Hallett.
At Aurora's Central Fire Station, they didn't just commemorate the nearly 3,000 people who perished in the attacks but also the casualties that continue to mount; nearly the same number of firefighters have died from illnesses related to recovery efforts as did I the attacks themselves.
"Just last week, a former member of the FDNY died of illness related to his work after 9/11," said Aurora Fire Chief Dave McCabe.
There were more somber reflections marking 22 years since the attack taking place Monday morning in Aurora.
The city's fire and police departments hosted a wreath-laying and bell ringing to honor victims and the heroic efforts of first responders who rushed into the aftermath to help people.
Six Aurora firefighters traveled to the World Trade Center site in the hours after the attack as part of an Illinois contingent sent to help the New York City Fire Department.