SEA ISLE CITY — Unity and remembrance were the themes for the city’s Patriot Day service in memory of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Mayor Leonard Desiderio spoke Tuesday morning of “that horrible day” and of the sorrow felt in Sea Isle and around the country, but also of the bravery of the first responders at the scene and about the feeling of unity he described as deeply comforting after the attack. He said Americans for a time were no longer Democrats or Republicans, conservative or liberal or even young or old, but simply Americans.

Cape May County Clerk Rita Marie Fulginiti described a photograph taken that spring, on a trip with her husband and their friends, with the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in the background.

“We lost our innocence that day,” she said.

County Sheriff Robert Nolan also praised the first responders and cited the national unity in the aftermath of the attacks. He said anyone who would want to disrespect the flag or the national anthem should remember those times, an apparent reference to the controversy over NFL players kneeling during the anthem, although he did not say that directly.

“There are better platforms for the exercise of freedom of speech, and those in the entertainment industry should remember that more than most,” he said.

The event had been relocated to inside the city’s fire headquarters, part of the City Hall and public safety building on JFK Boulevard, because of the threat of rain. Outside a thick mist and fog covered most of the beach town through the morning service.