07/06/2015 11:02 EDT | Updated 07/06/2016 05:59 EDT

Lac-Mégantic derailment anniversary a solemn occasion for town

Church bells will ring out 47 times today to remember each victim of the 2013 Lac-Mégantic, Que., rail derailment.

Today — July 6 — marks the second anniversary of the incident that saw an MM&A train carrying 72 tankers full of oil derail and explode in the town, killing 47 people and destroying much of the downtown core.

The town's mayor says the anniversary is weighing on the minds of residents.

"We felt it was important to provide citizens the opportunity to pause together to remember that tragic night," said Colette Roy.

At noon Monday, decontamination efforts at the crash site will be suspended for a moment of silence.

As well, the bells of St-Agnes Church will ring once for each victim, and the town will fly its flag at half-mast for the day.

The country reacts

Politicians of all stripes are reaching out to mark the anniversary.

"It takes people of extraordinary strength to overcome such a disaster, and I was privileged to witness first-hand during my visits to Lac-Mégantic the remarkable resilience, pride and spirit of those in the community," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a statement.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard also extended his support for the tight-knit community.

"Two years later, we do not forget the disaster that occurred in Lac-Mégantic. Our thoughts are turning to families and relatives of the victims and to all citizens of the City of Lac-Mégantic," he said.