PALMDALE – Bagpipes cried tribute, as the American flag flew high above the diverse crowd of more than 200 who gathered at the Fallen Heroes Memorial Sunday for a ceremony to recognize the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
“It’s a very emotional and sad time,” said Palmdale resident Hanan West. “It’s a sad moment, but it’s nice to know that everyone is here to support… to remember that day, pray, and show our respect.”
“What most Americans are not aware of is that when the towers fell on 9/11, there were hundreds of Muslims that died, as well as other Americans in that event,” said Muslim American Joseph West. “Remembrances all around the country are important to remind ourselves that even though we have differences of opinions and different ideas, collectively, we’re still all Americans; and as Americans, we should have a deep sense of country.”
The Remembrance Ceremony was conducted by captains from various public safety agencies, including the Los Angeles County Fire and Sheriff’s Departments, the California Highway Patrol, the Angeles National Forestry Station, and the California Department of Corrections.
The program began about 9 a.m. with a helicopter flyover by LA County Fire, and contained several memorable moments, including a touching rendition of the song “Fallen Not Forgotten,” the Ringing of Bells Announcement of Time of Attacks, a 21-gun salute from the LA County Rifle Team, and the ever present bagpipe tribute from U.S. Forest Service Bagpiper Bob Conacher.
“Three hundred and forty-three firefighters, 60 police officers, 40 heroes on Flight 93, and over 2,500 civilians — moms, dads, sons, daughters, brothers and sisters — died on Sept. 11, 2001,” Deputy Fire Chief Mike Metro told the crowd. “We know this to be history, but the question is… what about you, what about me, what about all of us? What can we do?”
Chief Metro urged the crowd to be vigilant and to never forget what happened on September 11, 2001.
“The time to take a stand is now, for I am afraid that for many the memory of 9/11 is beginning to fade,” he said. “If you forget then you will no longer care.”
The remembrance ceremony also recognized Antelope Valley first responders who died in the line of duty. The Fallen Heroes Memorial dedication recognized the 13 men and one woman who sacrificed their lives for service.
“Today we honor all our Antelope Valley fallen heroes who left us never knowing how much they would be missed,” said LACSD Captain Bobby Denham. “We humbly salute our desert heroes for their extraordinary service to our Valley…”
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