WATCH: Bald eagle’s surprise appearance at 9/11 tribute stuns firefighters: ‘Unbelievable’

WATCH: Bald eagle’s surprise appearance at 9/11 tribute stuns firefighters: ‘Unbelievable’
A bald eagle landed on a fire truck during a 9/11 memorial ceremony. (Image source: USA Today video screenshot)

The city of Coon Rapids, Minnesota, honors the memory of the victims and first responders who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, every year.

This year, during the 17th annual remembrance, a surprise visitor added a special flare to the ceremony, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

A bald eagle landed on top of a firetruck flag display during the ceremony, and the fire chief caught it on video.

“There’s no better symbol to represent America today than a flag but then for an eagle to land on a fire truck holding a flag, I mean, it doesn’t get much more symbolic than that,” Andover Fire Department Fire Chief Jerry Streich said, KARE-TV reports.

The eagle perched on top of the display for just under a minute before flying off, creating a special moment that has spread quickly across the internet as an inspiring visual.

“Look what landed on top of the aerial on 9/11,” Streich said in the video clip. “Isn’t that unbelievable? This eagle just landed on the aerial while we’re doing the 9/11 memorial. Phenomenal.”

Streich said they’ve been getting phone calls from across the country about the video, which was posted originally on Facebook and has been viewed more than a million times.

“We couldn’t have asked for anything more patriotic,” Streich said.

Remembering the fallen

When terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes on Sept.11, 2001, 2,753 people were killed after the first two crashed into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Of that number, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers, and 37 were Port Authority officers.

When American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon, 184 people were killed. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight 93, crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the plane. 40 passengers and crew members were killed.