By Mary O’KEEFE
Last Thursday, a few community members were sitting around talking about 9/11 and what type of observance was being held in the area.
“We thought of a remembrance parade [of classic cars],” said Dwight Sityar, member of the Early Rodders car group.
The idea gained momentum and on Wednesday, Sept. 11, over 20 classic cars and their owners parked in the Ralphs parking lot in La Crescenta waiting for the Crescenta Valley Remembers event to begin.
“It will be quiet,” said Sityar to the drivers.
The path the cars took passed each Los Angeles County and Glendale fire station in the area as well as the L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. – CV Station and Glendale Police Dept.’s substation in Montrose.
The caravan was led by California Highway Patrol Officer Morris. Glendale police and LASD followed in the rear.
Even with short notice, the community came out, waving flags in support of honoring the victims, including firefighters and law enforcement, of 9/11.
Each vehicle was decorated with an American flag. Mike and Pete Smith, from Bob Smith Toyota, drove with Sityar. Mike held an American flag and waved it as he saw the many who lined the route.
Several businesses, stations and schools showed their support as the caravan drove past. Along Santa Carlotta Avenue, students from Valley View Elementary lined the fence of their playground and waved flags as the cars drove by. When the caravan turned onto the 3300 block of Altura Avenue, traveling past Lincoln Elementary School, the Lincoln Lions were out in force. Kids, teachers, parents and Principal Steve Williams waved flags as the procession drove by.
Then another turn onto Foothill Boulevard and employees of Bob Smith were out with a flag.
The sight of all the schools and the support of community members was a bit overwhelming.
“It was extremely uplifting to see the Crescenta Valley students firefighters, law enforcement and neighbors embrace a positive, yet solemn, 9/11 parade,” said former state assemblymember Anthony Portantino who was in a car that drove the route. “I was so glad I went and am proud to be part of our community. And the amazing classic car clubs came out in terrific patriotic force.”
The remembrance parade ended at L.A. County Fire Station 82 in La Cañada.
It was an emotional ride that remembered the victims and honored those emergency responders that risk their lives to keep Americans safe.