Rain fell steadily Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, as marchers walked across the Veterans Memorial Bridge to remember and commemorate the lives lost beneath a bright blue sky on another Tuesday morning 17 years ago: Sept. 11, 2001.

A group of about 30 people gathered on the Belfast end of the Route 1 bridge at 8:30 a.m. for a short ceremony, a prayer offered by Pastor Michael Horton of Faith Temple Church of God, a 21-gun salute and a solo horn rendition of "Taps."

People driving by honked horns, waved, flashed lights and gave "thumbs up" in appreciation.

The group, led by members of Belfast Lions Club and Belfast Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3108, walked three round-trips across the bridge, commemorating the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the planned attack that passengers thwarted with the crash of a third plane into a Pennsylvania field. The march ended at about 9 a.m.

Statewide, Gov. Paul R. LePage had U.S. and state of Maine flags lowered to half-staff the day, designated Patriot Day in a presidential proclamation issued Monday in honor of the nearly 3,000 individuals who lost their lives Sept. 11, 2001.

The governor and U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King also issued statements.

“It is important to set aside this day of observance to recognize the sacrifices of those who were injured or lost as a result of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001,” LePage said. “Ann and I honor and remember these heroes, their families, our nation’s first responders and the dedication of our veterans and military members who are now serving. We must never forget.”

Collins released a statement, saying, “Sept. 11th was not just a day of personal tragedy. It was an attack on the United States, an attack on freedom, and an assault on civilization. We must never forget what was lost and what remains at stake.

"We must pledge to do all that we can to prevent future attacks," she said. "The fundamental obligation of government is to protect its people. Since Sept. 11, we have done much to meet that obligation.

“In what seemed like a moment, Sept. 11 was transformed from a day like any other into one that, forever, will stand alone," Collins continued. "The loss we relive reminds us of the value of all that we must protect. The heroism reminds us of the unconquerable spirit of the American people. Our accomplishments remind us that we can meet any challenge with decisive action.

"As long as we keep the meaning of this day of remembrance in our hearts, we shall meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

King released this statement: “On this day 17 years ago, Americans watched together in horror as terrorist attacks against our country claimed almost 3,000 innocent lives.

"In the days and weeks following the terror, our nation came together to grieve and honor those we had lost, and we were united by our sense of what it means to be an American and our commitment to make certain hope, love, and compassion not only triumphed but also endured," he said.

"Today, as we take a moment of silence to remember our fallen citizens and the brave men and women who rushed to their side, we must remind ourselves that any differences we may have pale in comparison to our faith in one another as Americans, and in their honor, we must rededicate ourselves to upholding the American values they represented.”