The public has two planned opportunities to remember the events of 9/11.
By Mary O’KEEFE
For the fourth year Crescenta Valley will be recognizing Patriot Day with a motorcade traveling through the area passing by local schools, fire stations and law enforcement stations. This year, though, instead of the motorcade taking place on Sept. 11 – Patriot Day – it will be recognized on Sept. 9 to allow local schools to participate.
“Ours is not a parade; we are not stopping. It is a motorcade,” said Dwight Sityar, one of the event coordinators. “We have a car that will [have a banner] that reads, ‘Remember, Honor and Respect.’”
Patriot Day was established after the 9/11/01 terrorist attacks on the east coast. Afterward, the country gathered to support victims, emergency responders and each other when coping with this national tragedy. The idea of a motorcade began four years ago when community leaders Steve Pierce, Jean Maluccio and Sityar began talking about how the community could honor Patriot Day. They decided it could be done in two parts. The first would be a motorcade in the morning that involved classic car owners and the Early Rodders, whose organization is supportive in many community outreach efforts including sponsoring a toy drive to help Spark of Love for the Los Angeles County Fire Dept.
Then invitations were extended to members of the community to ride in the motorcade. These invitations were given to those who volunteer in various areas, including local organizations like the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Chamber of Commerce and the Crescenta Valley Town Council.
Sityar said the motorcade is to remind the community of what happened on Sept. 11 and to also honor those who continue to protect and serve the community and to show patriotism for America.
As the motorcade drives by local schools, students hold American flags and cheer.
“The cheering is for America,” Sityar said.
The motorcade focuses on patriotism – something Sityar takes very seriously.
“I became an immigrant to America in 1977,” he said. “I lived in Hawaii for four years then [moved] to California.”
Sityar immigrated from the Philippines.
“This is not the country I was born in but [I knew] in America if you strive and work hard you will have all these opportunities. America will open its arms to you. It did for me,” he said. “I started in a meager position in work but persevered and was successful. If it wasn’t for America, I could not do what I did.”
He added that in the Philippines it was more about who you knew and if you had money then you could be successful. In America he saw opportunity for all.
It is this gratitude for his adopted country that has fueled his patriotism, a feeling he loves sharing with the community. In past years as the motorcade passed the schools and Sityar saw the American flags and heard the cheering, he said his eyes would tear. This is the America he immigrated to and the America he loves.
On Sept. 9, the motorcade will pass the fire stations of Los Angeles County and Glendale, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s-Crescenta Valley Station and the Glendale Police Dept. substation. In the past those in the motorcade waved to the firefighters and law enforcement personnel to thank them for their continued service.
Sityar said it is important to show respect to those emergency responders and let them know the community is aware of the important role they play and their sacrifices to protect the community.
The second part of the Patriot Day event is more somber. It is dedicated to remembering the victims of 9/11. During past events, local emergency responders who traveled to New York to help immediately after the terrorist attacks have spoken of what they experienced. There is a moment of silence for the victims but their lives are also celebrated with personal stories shared by relatives and friends of victims of 9/11.
The motorcade will begin at Ralph’s market parking lot, 2675 Foothill Blvd. at 9:02 a.m. The second part of Patriot Day is held at Bob Smith Toyota, 3333 Foothill Blvd. at 6 p.m. on Sept. 9. All are encouraged to attend.