The community is invited to take part in a day to remember, honor and respect.
By Mary O’KEEFE
For the ninth year, Crescenta Valley members are organizing the 9/11 Patriot Day Motorcade.
“This is not a parade; it is a motorcade,” said Dwight Sityar, a member of the Early Rodders car club and one of the event organizers.
Sityar stressed this is a remembrance motorcade to remember those who lost their lives in the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and an opportunity to honor the first responders to the attacks.
“Remember-Honor-Respect” is the motto of the Patriot Day Remembrance Motorcade. Since Sept. 11 is on a Sunday this year, the motorcade will be held on Friday, Sept. 9 to include students attending local schools.
Sityar said the idea for the motorcade came after CV Chamber of Commerce members Steve Pierce and Jean Maluccio began talking about what the community could do to honor and remember 9/11.
“That’s how we [arrived at] the motorcade,” Sityar said.
Sityar then brought in members of the Early Rodders group who have classic cars and hotrod vehicles.
The motorcade started with a few cars, which drove past about six schools, with the help and support of law enforcement and fire departments. It has increased to the maximum number of 50 vehicles, fire engines and law enforcement motorcycles and cars. The motorcade now travels 11.2 miles and winds its way through La Crescenta, far north Glendale and La Cañada Flintridge. It will pass 13 schools with an expected number of about 8,000 students taking part in the observance.
Glendale Unified School District shares an education plan concerning the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their aftermath with classroom teachers who can choose to participate in the lesson and the motorcade. About 90% of classrooms participate by making signs of remembrance and signs that read “Thank you” for emergency responders. The students line up in front of their schools as the motorcade passes by. In the past, the students were excited about seeing the classic cars and yelled “Thank you” as emergency responders drove past.
The event takes a lot of planning as California Highway Patrol, Glendale Police Dept. and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. all work together to not only keep participants in the motorcade, and other drivers and students safe, but also honor their fallen brothers and sisters.
“The World Trade Center was a 16-acre commercial complex in lower Manhattan that contained seven buildings, a large plaza and an underground shopping mall that connected six of the buildings. The centerpieces of the complex were the Twin Towers. On Sept. 11, 2001, the entire complex was destroyed in a terrorist attack that has come to be referred to as 9/11,” according to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum. “Nineteen terrorists from al-Qaeda hijacked four commercial airplanes, deliberately crashing two of the planes into the upper floors of the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center complex and a third plane into the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia. The Twin Towers ultimately collapsed because of the damage sustained from the impacts and the resulting fires. After learning about the other attacks, passengers on the fourth hijacked plane, Flight 93, fought back, and the plane was crashed into an empty field in western Pennsylvania about 20 minutes by air from Washington, D.C. The attacks killed 2,977 people from 93 nations: 2,753 people were killed in New York; 184 people were killed at the Pentagon; and 40 people were killed on Flight 93.”
Among those victims were 343 New York City firefighters, 23 New York City police officers and 37 officers of the Port Authority.
In the past, motorcade organizers would host a 9/11 memorial at Bob Smith Toyota where those who were directly affected by the terrorist attacks would share their memories of that day. The pandemic affected that evening memorial, however, and is still a factor in this year’s planning.
The organizers hope to bring back the 9/11 evening memorial in 2023.