Flags at City of Allen facilities will fly at half-staff today, September 11, in recognition of Patriot Day. Flags will remain lowered for the entirety of the day.
Allen Fire Department and Allen Police Department Honor Guard will also honor the victims and families of the attacks on September 11, 2001 during this evening’s Allen City Council meeting. The departments will hold a moment of silence, followed by a series of bell strikes known as “striking the four fives.” This custom of rendering final honors originated with the New York City Fire Department. Before the advent of radios or pagers, fire alarms and daily announcements were dispatched from central headquarters to outlying firehouses by a system of bell commands and telegraph.
Each different type of alarm or announcement had its own number and series of bell strikes. When a firefighter died in the line of duty or when an important dignitary died, headquarters would transmit five bell strikes, repeated in four series, with a slight pause between the series. The custom has continued as a way of rendering final honors to departed comrades.