Ceremonies of respect, honor held throughout the community.
By Mary O’KEEFE
Crescenta Valley residents united this past weekend to show their compassion and respect for Sept. 11 at ceremonies held throughout the area.
The commemorations began on Friday when schools within Glendale Unified School District paused at 8:46 a.m. to read a brief history of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 and to share a moment of silence.
The ceremony began a little early, at 8:15 a.m., at Lincoln Elementary School where students were joined by Glendale Fire Department firefighters, station 29. Principal Stephen Williams spoke to the students about the day and the images many had seen of the attacks over the course of the week.
At CV High School, principal Michele Doll read to the students.
“Ten years ago, on Sept. 11, 2001 the United States and the world were shocked by a sudden terrorist attack on this country that killed nearly 3,000 people.”
She continued to speak of what had happened, how many lost their lives and how the country had changed. Then a moment of silence was observed.
Early Sunday morning, more than 30 people gathered outside Glendale Fire Station 29, quietly greeting each other with hugs and smiles. Some came before church, some were walking their dogs, but all were there for one reason – to stand with firefighters and police to honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Glendale firefighters stood in front of the station in silence as the flag was raised then lowered to half-staff at 6:50 a.m. At 6:59 a.m. a tribute was held honoring those who had sacrificed their lives on 9-11. A moment of silence was held at all Glendale fire stations.
Ten years ago, in response to the attack, 343 firefighters and 72 police officers lost their lives. At each station, a specific list of names of those victims was read.
“That you are here to share this moment with us means so much,” said Capt. Rudolph Woody to those gathered.
The morning was marked with reflection for Montrose residents Susan Kagel and Jo Ness.
“My mother and sister were supposed to be on one of the planes,” Kagel said.
“One of the planes” is all that had to be said. Kagel’s mother and sister were to depart Boston early that Sept. 11 morning. Instead they decided to change to a later flight.
“My sister’s husband called,” Kagel said. “[He was] crying.”
He told his sister-in-law of the attacks and that he wasn’t certain if his wife and mother-in-law were on the plane.
“The first tower had already been hit. I saw the second tower hit,” she said.
At that point she still wasn’t sure if her family members were on their scheduled flight. It wasn’t until after the second tower was attacked that Kagel got word that her mother and sister had changed their flight.
“It took them three days to get home. They had to rent a car and drive,” Kagel said.
Fourth grader Mason Allen was on hand for the early morning ceremony. The Fremont Elementary School student said teachers had been talking about Sept. 11.
“We all went outside [on Friday] and we sang songs,” he said of the school’s remembrance ceremony.
Memories of 9-11 were the topic of discussion for most who arrived at both the Glendale fire station and the community ceremony at Two Strike Park.
About 100 people joined members of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, CV Chamber of Commerce and CV Town Council that partnered to organize the park’s event as a way for residents to share in the Day of Remembrance.
Mike Baldwin, American Legion commander, led the ceremony, which also included a moment of silence to honor the victims of 9-11.
Later in the day, at about 10 a.m., the Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 63 joined other County fire departments with a moment of silence.
At the Two Strike Park event, CV Sheriff’s Capt. Dave Silversparre spoke of what the country learned and how the nation changed after the attacks.
There is better communication between law enforcement agencies now, and there is more security throughout the country including the airports as a result of the attacks and the world climate afterward, he said.
The response to 9-11 has changed the way firefighters approach their job, Woody said.
“We’ve learned that there is a certain group or faction who’s sole purpose is to do harm to [our country],” he said.
As the country has become more aware of the real possibility of terrorist attacks on American soil, so have emergency responders.
“Prior to 9-11 we were like moths to a flame [responding to an incident],” Woody said. “ Now we think about what [caused] the incident.”
While emergency responders are typically cautious of every situation they respond to, after the Sept. 11 attacks the images of the devastation are ever present, always a reminder of what could be.
“We will never forget,” said Woody. “We would have all done exactly what [New York responders] did on that day … not thinking of the gravity of the situation, they just knew they needed to respond.”