Community Turns Out for Annual 9/11 Event

Photos by Jackie BODNAR, Robin GOLDSWORTHY, Viehanoosh NAZARIAN, Mary O’KEEFE and Charly SHELTON


The 9/11 Patriot Day motorcade made its way through Crescenta Valley early Tuesday morning. It began with the ringing of the chimes of St. Luke’s of the Mountains at 9:02 a.m. California Highway Patrol motorcycle units drove the route first, making certain traffic was cleared for the 50 classic cars and first responders from CHP, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept., Glendale Police Dept., LA County Fire Dept. and Glendale Fire Dept.

Along the way neighbors lined the roads, some holding American flags. School students were out at Rosemont Middle School, and Clark Magnet and Crescenta Valley high schools – as well as at most elementary schools in the Crescenta Valley.

Many of the students knew of the importance of the day and were eloquent in their explanation.

“Four planes crashed, two of them in towers in [New York],” said one Rosemont student. “There was one at the Pentagon and one in a field in [Pennsylvania].”

The fourth plane was in the air when passengers started fighting with the terrorists, said Michael Balian, a Rosemont eighth grader.

When asked why he thought it was important to remember 9/11, he replied, “It’s very important. We need to [remember] these things, like JFK’s [President John F. Kennedy] assassination, Pearl Harbor and the [Challenger] space shuttle [tragedy].”

“It was just a regular day,” said CVHS student Anthony Rios of early Sept. 11, 2001.

Then everything changed, he added.

“The [airport traffic control] tried to [contact] the [American Airlines Flight 11] but there was no response,” he said.

Then he and other CVHS students joined in the telling of what happened that day.

“We were hurt as a country,” he said.

“They hurt us as a nation,” added a friend.

“It’s crazy how, for our generation, this is history,” Rios added.

Most of the students who watched the motorcade drive by had not yet been born in 2001.

The cars in the motorcade bore the names of those who served in the New York Port Authority and lost their lives due to the terrorist attacks. On Tuesday, it was also a time to honor and remember first responders, including the two firefighters who died while battling the Station Fire in the Angeles National Forest in 2009, Fire Captain Ted Hall and Firefighter Specialist Arnie Quinones.

Later in the evening, a somber 9/11 event was held at Bob Smith Toyota where stories of that September day were shared and where firefighters and law enforcement were recognized.

Lt. Mark Slater from LA Sheriff’s Dept. – Crescenta Valley Station spoke of how he heard of the 9/11 attacks 17 years ago and about a friend, also with the LASD, who was in New York on vacation at the time.

“He had his off duty badge with him and his firearm, he slapped that on, got a respirator mask and went [to help],” he said. “He found himself right at ground zero just doing what he could do. That’s what I took out of 9/11, how America stepped up and came together. There were no political lines, there were no religious lines, there was nothing but America.”

It was Americans coming together to work for the greater good that Slater hoped everyone took away from the tragedy.

“We are all Americans, it doesn’t matter what you look like or what you believe in or who you are affiliated with. We are Americans and we step up and we take care of [each other].”

He spoke of the importance of taking any opportunity presented to volunteer and to be part of the community.

Pete and Mike Smith hosted the event at their business.

“Thank you first responders,” said Pete. “9/11 is very close to my heart. I have a cousin who was in the North Tower that day rescuing people and got out minutes before the Tower collapsed. My sister-in-law lived downtown and was a block from the tragedy, so each [year] this day really touches my heart. I can’t thank our first responders [enough] for everything you do and the sacrifices you make every single day.”

Pete thanked the community for coming to the event and thanked Jean Maluccio, Steve Pierce and Dwight Sityar for putting together the Patriot Day motorcade and the 9/11 remembrance event.

“If [any of] you have the opportunity to visit the 9/11 Memorial in New York City, it is absolutely spectacular and a tribute to the fallen, the people of New York and the country as a whole,” Mike added. “This is a beautiful community that we are in and we are blessed with everything that surrounds us here.”

He also thanked everyone who organized the day’s events, and the commemoration ended with the singing of the national anthem.

To see more photos of the 9/11 motorcade and evening event, visit