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WATERLOO – The sacrifices made on Sept. 11, 2001, were commemorated with a blood drive at Waterloo’s fire headquarters on Wednesday.

Organizers set a goal of 80 donors for what has become an annual event at Waterloo Fire Rescue’s Franklin Street headquarters.

“We never, never want to forget what happened. And this is a way to pay it forward,” said Judi Faas with the American Red Cross’ bio-med services.

Faas and Battalion Chief Mike Moore with Waterloo Fire Rescue came up with the drive as a way to commemorate the lives lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and to honor first responders, who are on the front lines when disasters happen.

Moore said the drive also honors veterans, especially those who answered the call to sign up for the military following the Sept. 11 tragedy.

“Those veterans weren’t first responders but were a result of what happened. A lot of this is about them. They did their thing right after we did ours,” Moore said.

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Faas said the Sept. 11 drive is one of the bigger blood drives in the area, along with the annual holiday drive at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.

Other area public safety agencies also found ways to mark 9/11. In Charles City, a Floyd County sheriff’s deputy and a Charles City police officer used stair machines to climb the equivalent of 110 stories of the World Trade Center on Wednesday morning.

In Decorah, crews with the Decorah Fire Departments, Winneshiek County Sheriff’s Office and the American Legion post stood in front of the fire station and observed nine minutes and 11 second of silence.

The University of Northern Iowa campus greeted Pilot Lt. Josh Mixdorf landing a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter near the Campanile on campus Wednesday during a 9/11 commemoration. UNI President Mark Nook sat in the pilot seat while Mixdorf explained functions of the helicopter used in the U.S. Army as its primary medium lift utility transport and air assault aircraft.

Gov. Kim Reynolds ordered all flags to fly at half-staff Wednesday.

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