Los Angeles

How Southern California is Remembering Those Killed in the Sept. 11 Terror Attacks

In Los Angeles, the fire department's Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park has become a traditional gathering place on Sept. 11

Remembrances are planned for across Southern California Wednesday when the nation pauses to honor those killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The events are part of nationwide commemorations, including ceremonies and observances at the sites of the attacks 18 years ago. 

Los Angeles County

In Los Angeles, the fire department's Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park has become a traditional gathering place on the day when nearly 3,000 people were killed 18 years ago in plane hijackings and attacks at the World Trade Center towers in New York City, the Pentagon in Virginia and Pennsylvania. The site north of downtown Los Angeles features a plaza with a 23-ton section of metal that was recovered from the World Trade Center in New York City.

It is the largest remnant of the World Trade Center outside New York City.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is expected to attend, along with fire Chief Ralph Terrazas, police Chief Michel Moore, county Sheriff Alex Villanueva and county fire Chief Daryl Osby.

In Long Beach, the city will hold a remembrance ceremony at Fire Station 1 on Magnolia Avenue. The event will include a wreath-laying and a moment of silence that will be observed at 9:11 a.m.


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Early morning ceremonies are also planned in cities including South Pasadena and Culver City, where events will be held at the three city fire stations.

In downtown Los Angeles, a panel discussion will be held at Bob Hope Patriotic Hall with members of the military and first responders telling their stories about how the attacks spurred them to enter public service.

Beverly Hills will hold its annual remembrance event at the city's 9/11 Memorial Garden. The event will include a wreath-laying, bell-ringing and a playing of "Taps." The city's police and fire chiefs will be joined by Mayor John Mirisch and members of the City Council.

Orange County

For the first time in his 18 years of presenting an annual 9/11 memorial around his home, Orange County firefighter Scott Townley will welcome a group of school children on a field trip. Townley noted how interest in marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a plane that crashed in a field in Pennsylvania has waned, so a visit from Orangethorpe Elementary School students has him excited to take them on a tour of his own memorial.

"We get a lot of home-schooled kids who learn about it, but as far as actual schools this is the first time we've had this interest," Townley said, adding he expects about 65 students to attend his Wednesday morning service before touring the memorial, which includes flags and photos of the thousands of victims of the terrorist attacks.

Also new this year is a four-foot high replica of the twin towers that are illuminated with blue lights at night as a nod to the two blue lights that were put in place of the fallen towers after 9/11.

This year, Townley had the solemn task of adding about 200 more names of rescue workers and first responders who died from illnesses related to the dust and toxins released in the explosions on part of the memorial.

Also represented are the 5,800 or so names of troops who have died in combat triggered by the 9/11 attacks, Townley said.

Several other events are scheduled in Orange County to mark the anniversary.

At the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum, Norman Mineta, the U.S. Transportation Secretary on Sept. 11, 2011, will discuss how he ordered all flights grounded following the attacks. Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes and Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy will also be on hand.

Orange County firefighters will dedicate a steel beam recovered from the towers that was donated to the Orange County Fire Authority. Retired New York City firefighter Jerry Bresnan will participate in that ceremony at the authority's headquarters in Irvine.

Riverside County

A series of tributes are planned Wednesay in Banning, Murrieta and Riverside in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001.

At 8:30 a.m. in Riverside, the city will begin its annual "Day of Service," marking 9/11 with activities that promote charity and selflessness. A gathering is planned in the breezeway fronting Riverside City Hall, where Mayor Rusty Bailey will salute members of Riverside County Task Force 6, which deployed to New York City a few days after the terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center.

Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore and retiring police Chief Sergio Diaz will deliver remarks. There will be a moment of silence at 9:11 a.m.

Throughout the day, blood drives are planned at City Hall, 3900 Main St., and volunteer cleanup teams will be encouraged to dedicate an hour for the removal of refuse and to engage in other beautification efforts citywide, according to organizers.

"We always have a great response to our Day of Service, and I am sure this year will be no different," Councilman Jim Perry said. "Our partners, including businesses and nonprofit organizations, make all of this possible, and we thank them for that."

Ceremonies will conclude at 5:30 p.m. on the campus of La Sierra University, 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, where reflective music will be played and closing observations will be made by Perry and others.

The Riverside County Executive Office will mark 9/11 this year with a flag-draping on the north side of the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside. That tradition began the week following the terrorist attacks of 18 years ago, when then-Supervisor John Tavaglione ordered the entire CAC to be draped in giant American flags.

A blood drive is also scheduled in the parking lot of the administrative complex, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Mt. San Jacinto College will host a commemoration service at 8:30 a.m. at the college's San Gorgonio campus, 3144 Westward Ave., Banning. A 9/11 survivor's letter will be read aloud by a college official, and the Banning High School Band will play patriotic music at the start and close of the event.

The city of Murrieta will hold a "Sunset 9/11 Service," beginning at 7 p.m., adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial on the Juniper Street side of Town Square Park. Mayor Kelly Seyarto and Murrieta Fire & Rescue Chief David Lantzer will lead the observance, paying homage to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attacks. There will be a color guard presentation by police officers and fire personnel, followed by music suited to the occasion.

The city's 9/11 Memorial consists of a slanted rock on which a plaque is mounted with quotes from former President George W. Bush, speaking immediately after the attacks. There is also a bench nearby with the inscription "We Will Never Forget."

About 300 people are expected to attend the event.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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