By Brandon HENSLEY
The faithful came together throughout the Crescenta Valley to remember 9-11 on Sunday.
Though Sunday’s attendance numbers didn’t come close to the upsurge in attendance on Sept. 16, 2001, First Baptist of La Crescenta Pastor Bill Flanders said he was pleased with his Sunday 9-11 service. He said he had many people come up to him afterward and tell him how special it was.
“I could sense that as I was talking people were connecting with me,” he said.
It was a “very full” service, said Flanders. The church band played patriotic songs as well as spiritual ones, and Crescenta Valley High School’s Junior ROTC program made a presentation.
The service also recognized those in uniform. Police officers and firefighters in attendance were asked to stand as they were applauded and cheered for. Capt. David Silversparre of the CV Sherriff’s Station was also recognized.
Flanders said his message was meant to not only be about remembering the attacks 10 years ago, but to also get to know each member in the audience who may be struggling with a crisis in their own current situation.
“I tried to give a message of hope of courage to people who right now are going through their own 9-11,” Flanders said.
St. George’s Episcopal Church in La Cañada recognized the 10th year anniversary of the 9-11 attacks in quiet reflection.
Rev. Amy Pringle and her staff began talking about what type of service they would have on Sept. 11.
“We wondered what people would be like,” she said.
She knew the media would be full of stories of the attacks, those lost and those who survived. She wanted to be sensitive to oversaturation and to those who were still grieving.
“We knew there were still ‘Where was God?’ questions,” Pringle said.
During her sermon, Pringle spoke of how the memory of the day 10 years ago has affected us as a society.
“For 10 years our memories are still visceral, still relevant,” she said. “No one will ever forget where they were.”
She added what happened, what the world saw was perpetrated by “evil with a capital E.”
“My thoughts strangely turned to Christmas,” she said.
Christmas songs seemed to bring her comfort. She asked the congregation to join the choir in singing the third and fourth verse of “It Came Upon A Midnight Clear.”
“O ye beneath life’s crushing load. Whose forms are bending low. Who toil along the climbing way. With painful steps and slow; Look now, for glad and golden hours come swiftly on the wing: Oh rest beside the weary road. And hear the angels sing.”
As is the norm with St. George’s the service was filled with music. The service was emotional. The walls were lined with photos of the day 10 years ago, and Rev. Anthony Keller, Deacon of St. George’s, had edited a 9-11 video that was emotional.
Tenor Daniel Chaney had to sing directly after the video presentation.
“I knew the presentation was going to be emotional, but I didn’t realize how emotional,” he said.
Chaney said he had to walk a fine line between staying emotionally connected and still be able to keep his composure to sing.
“When [the event] is colored with such deep sorrow you have to let it be there, but not take over,” he said.
At La Cañada Presbyterian Church, a solemn memorial service was held. Elected officials Mayor David Spence, Assemblyman Anthony Portantino and Congressman Adam Schiff joined firefighters, police officers, La Cañada High School Band, Boy Scouts, 9-11 survivor Kevin Danni and other members of the community for a day of remembrance.
“I’m glad the community is taking time to remember,” said La Cañada High School junior Katherine Zwingli, whose father was in New York City at the time of the attack.
Sisters 12-year-old Julia and 10-year-old Caroline Nowak also attended the event.
“It feels important, like we’re a part of something. We are a country together and strong. It feels patriotic,” Julia said.
Mary O’KEEFE and Maddy PUMILIA contributed to this story