PORTLAND – Groups that are commemorating the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, see the 10th anniversary as an occasion to look back, and forward.

In Portland on Sunday morning, firefighters, police and the public will have a chance to look back.

Firefighters in full gear, police in uniform and the public — who will be asked to wear white shirts — will march down Congress Street from Congress Square at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first hijacked jet hit the World Trade Center in New York.

John Brooks, president of Local 740 of the International Association of Firefighters, said people will be asked to carry small signs bearing the names of the 343 firefighters and 60 police officers who died while responding to the attacks.

The march will end at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade, where the city has a 9/11 memorial.

At 9:30 a.m., three wreaths will be laid there — one for those killed at the World Trade Center, another for those killed at the Pentagon and the third for those aboard hijacked United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania.

Brooks said the anniversary obviously carries special weight for firefighters.

“I think we have an obligation” to honor those who died, he said. “We always say, ‘Never forget,’ and that has true meaning for us — to keep their memory alive and honor them. A lot of guys went in that building knowing full well they would never get out.”

The march and wreath-laying are just two of dozens of events planned throughout the state for the anniversary, ranging from church services to panel discussions and a memorial concert.

Peace Action Maine is encouraging people to gather around Back Cove on Sunday evening to look ahead.

Grace Braley, an organizer, said the group will gather at dusk. A half-hour after sunset, participants will be asked to shine flashlights skyward.

“If Portland successfully shines this light Sunday, here is Portland saying, ‘We want something better,’ ” Braley said.

People are upset that the attacks led to two wars that are still going on, she said, and they’re asked to attend Sunday’s event to show that they want to change the mindset that the only response to terrorism is sending out troops.

“It’s supposed to be a positive thing,” she said of the event at Back Cove. “It’s time to go forward in this world.”

Braley said the event isn’t intended to detract from the memorials to those who died 10 years ago.

“This is about looking forward,” she said. “There are plenty of events where people can remember.”

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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