READING, Pa. -

It's been 11 years since America was changed forever by the attacks on September 11, 2001.

All across the country, memorial services were held Tuesday to honor all those who have died and the heroes who responded to save peoples' lives.

It was a beautiful day in Reading on Tuesday. In City Park, a sense of sadness filled the hearts of those who gathered for the fire department's annual memorial service honoring the victims of September 11, 2001.

"We had a cousin who was with the Port Authority. She perished that day," said Peggy Floriani, of Pottstown. "She used her weapon to shoot out the windows in the World Trade Center so that people could escape."

Reading Deputy Fire Chief Gary Mogel said services remembering his fallen brothers and sisters have made him value his own life and loved ones more.

"I had an opportunity to be a New York City firefighter and turned down the job. Who knows if I would have been working?" said Mogel.

Three hundred forty-three American flags representing the firefighters who lost their lives on September 11 lead the pathway to an American elm in City Park. The tree, said Mogel, was dedicated to the people who perished 11 years ago.

Cark Geffken, Berks County's chief operating officer, worked for the New York City Department of Investigation 11 years ago. His building was blocks away from the World Trade Center.

"When we walked outside, there was two feet of debris around. You walked through it and it looked like a war zone," said Geffken.

Geffken also said that services help him find solace.

Eileen Scheibner, of Reading, said her life changed in a different way the day of the attacks.

"I got to hear my baby's heartbeat for the first time," said Scheibner.

The important lessons every American can learn from the past: never take your life for granted, said Mogel.

"It's a job that we choose, the career path that we choose to do," said Mogel.

"I have to pray for them because that's the closest I can get to giving them any kind of support," said Scheibner.

Following the ceremony in City Park, firefighters took a moment to honor some of their brothers for exceptional work.

A Medal of Valor and a unit citation were presented to some Reading firefighters.
Officials said the honored members went above and beyond when answering the call of duty.

Mayor Vaughn Spencer was on hand, as well.