Remember, Respect and Honor
On Friday I had the privilege of taking part in the annual Patriots’ Day motorcade. Typically held on 9/11, the event this year was held on Friday, 9/09 to give local schools the chance to participate.
The motorcade included classic cars, vintage vehicles, fire trucks, police cars and motorcycles. The motorcade was started a couple of years ago after local leaders Jean Maluccio, Dwight Sityar and Steve Pierce got together to talk about a way to remember and honor 9/11/01. Dwight, being a member of the Early Rodders Car Club, had an inside track to pulling together some awesome cars and each year the motorcade seemed to grow. Not only does the number of participating cars grow but so does the route that is traveled.
Every year the motorcade begins in the parking lot of the Ralphs Marketplace on Foothill Boulevard in La Crescenta. From there, it travels throughout the Crescenta Valley, passing the sheriff’s station, fire stations and local schools. It is an honor to wave to the safety personnel standing outside the stations. But it’s the crowds outside the schools that are really impressive.
Thousands of students from elementary, middle and high schools gather in front of their school to yell and show their support for the country and the motorcade. And it’s particularly impressive to me when you consider that most of these children weren’t even alive on 9/11/01. Somehow they understand how important it is for our community to remember, respect and honor those who lost their lives.
Thank you to the teachers and administrators who not only allowed their students to leave class but also accompanied them outside.
Friday evening was a commemoration at Bob Smith Toyota. Students sang patriotic songs and local dignitaries thanked representatives from the fire department, sheriff’s department and police department. Afterward a live band played music and some people (okay – me) danced till dusk. And I think that Anthony Portantino, who attended the commemoration at Bob Smith Toyota, phrased it best that the motorcade and the commemoration were not only somber times to remember a horrific day in American history but to celebrate that America is still here.
I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to remember those who died on 9/11. The attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the taking down of Flight 93 resulted in the deaths of thousands of Americans. The local motorcade and the display of American flags outside many of our homes are all ways that we come together to remember, respect and honor those lost.
Across the nation, people took time to remember. Whether at a church service, with family and/or friends watching a historical report on TV or just having a personal moment of silence, I’m sure most Americans took time to reflect on that horrible day 15 years ago.
This is why I was appalled to learn of the destruction at Occidental College of 2,990-plus flags that were placed in the campus quad to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11/01. They were replaced with a sign that reads R.I.P. THE 2,996 AMERICANS WHO DIED IN 9/11. R.I.P. THE 1,455,590 INNOCENT IRAQIS WHO DIED DURING THE U.S.
INVASION FOR SOMETHING THEY DIDN’T DO.
The explanation for this was given by a college group that claims not to have committed the vandalism, but wanted to clarify why it was done.
“We were unclear as to the fact that each flag represented each life because no previous reference was made stating this fact. We acknowledge the pain and outrage felt by many members within and outside of the Occidental College community and hope to create spaces in which the voices of all students can be uplifted in situations that involve such painful tragedy for more than a singular nation or group of people.”
What does that even mean?
The group went on to say that the perpetrators wanted a more “holistic approach to honoring not only those who died on American soil on 9/11, but the 1,455,590 innocent Iraqis who died as a result of the U.S’s subsequent invasion and War on Terror.”
While it is their right to want a more “holistic approach,” that does not give them the right to destroy another’s property. I doubt that this unnamed group had even planned to have any type of display but once they saw what was erected decided to push their agenda.
I’m curious as to how these individuals are going to fare in the real world where hurt feelings don’t equate with the right to destroy someone else’s property. My guess is that if they are looking for accolades they’re going to be sorely disappointed.