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Colorado Marks Sept. 11, State Tragedies

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(credit: Eddie Castro)

(credit: Eddie Castro)

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DENVER (AP/CBS4) – Colorado government leaders marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Tuesday with a service that also honored the victims of the Aurora theater shooting and wildfires this summer that destroyed hundreds of homes.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan called first responders “our heroes” and said he wanted to deliver a message from his constituents.

“Senseless acts of violence do not define us as a community,” Hogan told a crowd of hundreds at Civic Center Park across the street from the state Capitol. “Instead it is the lives and acts of heroes and the overwhelming acts of kindness and care for our neighbors that best defines Aurora, and the same can be said of our entire state.”

Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded in the July 20 shootings, and several hundred homes were destroyed in June in wildfires in Colorado Springs and west of Fort Collins during a lengthy heat wave. A spring wildfire in the foothills southwest of Denver destroyed or damaged two dozen homes.

State officials remembered victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and thanked the country’s first responders. Steel from one of the twin towers was on display with a U.S. flag draped over the material. A New York City fire truck that responded to the World Trade Center was parked nearby. Ladders from the Colorado Springs and Poudre fire departments held up the U.S. flag and Colorado flag over a main stage near the state Capitol.

PHOTO GALLERY: 9/11 Remembrance Events In Colorado

“I think a lot of people come to just pay respect and definitely support, boost the morale,” said Denver Augustine Flores, 38, one of the attendees.

Gov. John Hickenlooper said he was “really in awe” of how Colorado showed resolve in adversity this summer.

“As we reflect on the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and the events of this summer, let us also recognize our humanity in the face of that tragedy and our country’s unyielding will to prevail,” Hickenlooper said.

Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates, Aurora Fire Chief Mike Garcia and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock also spoke at the event. Garcia recalled how hours after the shootings, he started receiving phone calls of support from various fire departments, including one from New York City. He said some firefighters flew to Aurora.

“They knew what we were going through, and they wanted to start the healing process,” Garcia said. “God bless you, New York Fire.”

Broomfield also hosted a service Tuesday morning. That community built a memorial specifically to mark the attacks and those lost. The police and fire department hosted the ceremony and firefighters say the memorial provides a place to reflect.

“You just think of all those families, what everyone was going through,” firefighter Ken Work said. “Also back from the days in the Marine Corps., military, and just what’s going on now; like how they are all getting by now.”

A total of 343 firefighters from around the Denver metro area also honored their fallen colleagues by climbing the 55-story CenturyLink tower. They made the trip twice for the 343 New York firefighters lost when the 110-story World Trade Center collapsed. The firefighters wore their full firefighting gear, including masks.

- By Ivan Moreno, AP Writer

CBS4 staff contributed to this report.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Wildfire Resources

- Visit CBSDenver.com’s Wildfire Resources section.

- Read recent Wildfire stories.

Wildfire Photo Galleries

- See images from the most destructive wildfires (Waldo Canyon, High Park and Fourmile) and largest wildfire (Hayman) in Colorado history.

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