On September 11, communities across Los Angeles County celebrated Patriot Day, a day of remembrance of the terrorist attacks on our nation 11 years ago. This event is always of particular significance for our members, as many firefighters and other first responders perished in the attacks. Our personnel were invited to attend several events commemorating the heroism and sacrifice of the victims who lost their lives that tragic day.
Fire Chief Daryl Osby, along with Supervisor Gloria Molina, Sheriff Lee Baca, and Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, attended a ceremony memorializing the September 11 attacks, as well as marking the opening of the new Flag Garden in downtown's 12-acre Grand Park, which runs from the Music Center to Los Angeles City Hall. During the event, veterans and military members raised 19 flags commemorating different events in world history. "This reconfigured Community Terrace and Flag Garden pays tribute to our American history and heroes," said Molina. "It is situated in the center of Grand Park which, in turn, is located in the heart of our Civic Center. The flags are a perfect symbol of our collective memory of the first responders as well as the civilian victims of the September 11th attacks."
In Division II, firefighters attended three different remembrance events. In Duarte, Fire Station 44 personnel joined city, county and state dignitaries at a local elementary school for a memorial coordinated by the City and "Duarte's Promise" program. Students assembled, recited a memorialized poem, pledged allegiance to the flag, sung patriotic songs and presented red, white and blue flowers in memory of all those who died. The Glendora "Women of the Pride" golf club also held their annual golf tournament and invited Glendora Police and Fire personnel to a "Flag Raising Ceremony" at the Glendora Country Club. Fire Station 85 and 86 personnel attended this event in which the ladies were dressed in red, white and blue, and were all very thankful to their first responders. Also in Glendora, there was a community remembrance service at the city hall's front lawn featuring a presentation of colors by the Glendora Police Department Honor Guard, pledge of allegiance, national anthem, scripture readings, reflections and responsive benediction which personnel from Fire Stations 151, 85, 86 and 64 attended.
In Division IV, over 400 city council members, Assembly members, and other community leaders gathered with residents to commemorate the eleventh anniversary of 9/11. Our Department was represented by Assistant Fire Chief Gerald Heinzel, Battalion Chief Tim Fordham, Battalion Chief Art Ellis, and many firefighters. Fire trucks were on display in the cities of Artesia, Cerritos, Hawaiian Gardens and Lakewood. Each event began with the pledge of allegiance followed by the "Star Spangled Banner."
Heinzel delivered an inspiring speech in the City of Artesia. "I remember exactly where I was on 9/11," he shared with attendees. "I was the Director of Training, in charge of Recruit Class 109. My job assignment was at our headquarters. The recruits and I watched the 9/11 incident in New York unfold on television. I could see the question in their eyes—is this what I signed up for? I knew right then and there that my responsibility was to encourage these individuals."
The cities of Cerritos and Lakewood also commemorated Patriot Day by recognizing the spirit of Americans with a concert, a memorial candle lighting, and a moment of silence to pay tribute to those lost in the terrorist attacks.