By Lori BODNAR
“Remember-Honor-Respect” is the motto of the Patriot Day Remembrance Motorcade, which honors the fallen first responders and others who lost their lives due to terrorist attacks 20 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001.
This year, the motorcade was held on Friday, Sept. 10 so that local schools could take part in the observance. In addition to 13 schools, the motorcade passed by five fire stations, the CV Sheriff’s Station, La Crescenta Library, CV Chamber of Commerce, American Legion/Veterans of Foreign Wars Memorial Hall, the La Crescenta Woman’s Club, the Vietnam Memorial, a hospital, three convalescent homes and several grocery stores before ending at the YMCA.
Over 8,500 students observed the Patriot Day Remembrance Motorcade. Students were outdoors in their class groups, wearing masks. Since 20 years have passed since 9/11, the students did not have their own memories from that day. The motorcade is an opportunity for them to remember the nation-changing event.
The bells of St. Luke’s of the Mountains Church rang out when the motorcade procession began from the Ralph’s Market parking lot at 8:46 a.m., the time that the first hijacked commercial plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center. The 50 cars in the motorcade then proceeded along a planned route, with California Highway motorcycle patrol units securing traffic safety. The motorcade included antique cars as well as police, fire, military and search and rescue vehicles.
This was the seventh year that Rick Liss rode in the motorcade, this year with his son Sawyer.
“I participate in the motorcade to honor the victims and heroes of 9/11 and remember how great our country is,” he said.
Lisa Foster has been in the motorcade for three years.
“I participate in the motorcade for the community and to see the kids’ faces,” she said. “I am thankful to Dwight Sityar for arranging the remembrance motorcade.”
One participant shared that 9/11 is his birthday. He said that the motorcade brings together friends and the community, a reunion of people honoring first responders.
Members of the American Legion greeted the motorcade by the Vietnam Memorial in Montrose with the American flag. Mike Baldwin served in the 19th Infantry Division in Vietnam in 1967-68. Baldwin said, “My memory of 9/11 is waking up when the second plane hit. There was no doubt of what was happening.”
Lynn McGinnis from the American Legion served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War.
“My memory of 9/11 was watching it on TV before leaving home to teach at Rosemont Middle School,” said McGinnis. “God bless America and never forget.”
Bianca Serratos is a fifth grader who viewed the motorcade at Mountain Avenue Elementary School.
“I liked the motorcade, including the cars, especially the big army camouflage truck, and how we all waved at each other,” said Bianca. “It’s important that we come together as a community to remember first responders who helped and sacrificed for our country. We need to show our love and respect for them. 9/11 reminds us of the power of community, love and unity.”
Photos by Julie KIRBY, Lori BODNAR and Brandy YI