TEN years ago, Victoria Square fell silent as the people of Bolton mourned the thousands of victims of the New York and Washington terrorist attacks.

People stood side-by-side in their hundreds, heads bowed as the normally bustling centre of Bolton fell quiet.

This Sunday, on September 11, the Town Hall Square will once again fall silent to remember those innocent people, including the 343 firefighters who lost their lives while desperately trying to rescue those trapped in the two towers.

A special service has been organised by Bolton Council and Bolton’s fire service to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

Poignantly, the day coincides with the annual Sunday in September when firefighters who have died while on duty are remembered.

The community of Bolton is invited to the ceremony to stand shoulder-to-shoulder as one.

Following the terror strikes, Muslims in Bolton were targeted in revenge attacks.

Alavia Mosque in Bromwich Street was firebombed, blowing out three windows and forcing those inside to flee. It was one in a series of attacks against Muslims across the country.

Bolton Mayor Cllr Noel Spencer said: “The events that took place on 9/11 changed the world.

“As I host the service to mark the 10th anniversary of this tragedy, my thoughts and prayers will be with all those who perished and the families and friends they left behind.

“The great courage and sacrifice shown by the emergency services on that day must never be forgotten.

“Indeed all emergency services, including our own here in the borough, should be appreciated for their unending courage in the service of others. Bolton is a very close community and many groups make up the structure of our town.

“I hope everyone will come along on Sunday, September 11, to join us at 1.30pm for this special service.”

The day will start at 9am, when Bolton Borough Commander Ian Bailey will collect a lantern from Bolton Parish Church, where it will be blessed by the Vicar of Bolton, the Rev Matt Thompson.

The lantern will be taken around the fire stations in the borough, starting at Farnworth followed by Bolton North, then Horwich and to Bolton Central.

At 11am, fire stations across the borough will open to the public to give people a close look around their local fire stations At each fire station, apart from Bolton Central — whose crews will be taking part in the service on Victoria Square — there will be a two-minute silence at 1.46pm, the time the first plane went into the tower.