First responders, civic officials mark 9/11 anniversary

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Wave Wire Services

LOS ANGELES — Several ceremonies marking the 22nd anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks were held Sept. 11 in Los Angeles County, including at the Los Angeles Fire Department’s Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park.

“On this day, 22 years ago, the unthinkable happened,” Mayor Karen Bass said during the ceremony near Dodger Stadium. “All of us remember exactly where we were when we got the news and many of us remember how we spent the hours, the days, the weeks following the attack for many including brave members of the Los Angeles Fire Department.”

The California Task Force Once Urban Search and Rescue deployed 70 members, as well as 23 members of fire department’s critical incident stress management team, to respond to the attacks, according to the LAFD.

Bass said California first responders had “no clear expectation of what would be required of them,” just that they had on their minds was “that they had been called to serve and they did when they arrived on the East Coast.”

They cleared rubble, searched for lost loved ones and relieved their partners in New York City, so other firefighters could “spend time with their families,” Bass said.

“In such a dark time, the light of compassion shined through on this day. It’s important to remember those who lost their lives and the families who lost loved ones,” Bass said. “We must also remember those who ran toward danger, those who sacrificed in order to restore communities and shape a path forward.”

Los Angeles Fire Chief Kristen Crowley emphasized that the ceremony represented a commitment to fulfill “our ongoing promise” to never ever forget. She added that “we come together faithfully and with purpose each and every year to honor and remember the lives taken from us.”

There were 2,997 people from 93 nations died killed in the attacks — 2,753 people died on ground zero, 184 were killed at the Pentagon and 40 as heroic passengers that stopped and spoiled the hijackers’ plans on flight 93, Crowley said.

There were 343 New York City firefighters and paramedics killed on 9/11, 23 New York Police Department officers and 37 Port Authority Police Department officers, Crowley said.

“I share these numbers with you, so that we never ever allow ourselves to become complacent and numb as we may move further and further away each year,” Crowley said.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore said the world forever changed following the events of 9/11.

“It’s also critical to call out and reaffirm the duty all of us have to continue to work together to fight extremism and hate,” Moore said.

Bass and Moore rang”10-Bells” during the ceremony, signifying the end of a day’s work for first responders. The mournful sounds of bagpipers rang loud and deep, and the ceremony included a helicopter flyover by the LAFD Air Operations Section.

As part of the ceremony, LAFD unveiled a 23-ton steel column from the base of the World Trade Center that was part of the lobby structure. LAFD officials said it is the “largest remnant of the attacks outside of New York.”

“Compassion and love is the spirit of Los Angeles,” Bass said. “It’s what motivates our first responders to always answer the call, both here at home and around the world,” Bass said.

“On behalf of the 4 million Angelenos who you serve and keep safe every single day, we thank you for continuing to make an impact and continuing to stand ready. We honor you and thank you.”

In connection with the anniversary, representatives of the volunteer action center L.A. Works painted indoor rooms, assembled and refurbished tables and planter boxes and weeded and planted at the training center, and created 1,000 disaster readiness kits.

Sept. 11 is a federally recognized National Day of Service and Remembrance.

In his proclamation declaring Patriot Day and a National Day of Service and Remembrance, President Joe Biden said, “Today we remember all the heroes who were forged in the hours, days, and years that followed that terrible morning of September 11, 2001 — ordinary Americans who, amidst the terror, smoke and flames, demonstrated extraordinary courage and selflessness.

“Together, their bravery helped prove to our nation and the world that what those terrorists most hoped to wound could never be broken: the character of our nation.  In honor of all the lives we lost 22 years ago — and in honor of all the heroes who have given their whole souls to the cause of this nation every moment since — may today not only be observed with solemn remembrance but also with renewal and resolve,” Biden added.

“Together, may we continue to demonstrate that the rights and freedoms that those terrorists sought to destroy on September 11, 2001, remain unwavering — strengthened by generations of Americans who have dared all and risked all to defend, protect, and preserve our democracy.”

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