First published in the Sept. 16 print issue of the Outlook Valley Sun.
The local community rallied together last week to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the tragic Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, when a series of hijacked airplanes crashed into U.S. targets, and to honor the sacrifices and heroism of emergency responders.
Spectators, including Palm Crest Elementary students and firefighters from Station 82, lined the sidewalk for the Patriot Day Motorcade making its way through La Cañada Flintridge as a sign of respect for the nearly 3,000 lives lost in the four coordinated terrorist attacks on U.S. targets in 2001.
“It’s always sad to remember what happened and to think about the loss of lives of people and firefighters just like us,” said Captain Heather Hogelund of Fire Department Station 19, who watches the testimonies of the survivors and families every year with her team on 9/11. “It was a really hard time to go through, and it’s, of course, difficult to try to put it in a positive perspective of never forgetting.”
Isabella Oh, a La Cañada High School senior and ASB president, said that she and some of her classmates take time to reflect on 9/11 each year as a way to educate themselves on the tragedy that unfolded 20 years ago.
“For myself and other students it’s hard to imagine the world before 9/11,” Oh said. “The world we do know has undoubtedly been shaped by all of the loss. As students and young adults, we feel inclined to seek out ways to learn about 9/11. And because we weren’t alive at the time, most of our perspective comes from listening to interviews, reading testimonies and talking with those who experienced the event.”
Leading the pledge of allegiance and standing alongside Principal Jim Cartnal as he initiated LCHS’ moment of silence on Friday morning, Oh said “the gravity of the moment hit me harder this year.
“In a school that is always vibrant with students and faculty talking, the silence in every classroom and over the PA system is really impactful,” she continued. “A true feeling of respect swept throughout the campus.”
On Friday evening after the school day, many students returned to campus for a tailgate and football game where the LCHS Choral Artists performed the National Anthem.
“There was a strong sense of unity in the student body,” Oh said. “Yes, there are many things we don’t agree on. But when it comes to 9/11, we all understand how important it is to remember.”
Pat Anderson, the La Cañada Flintridge Chamber CEO and President, said “remembering 9/11 means respect and love for those who are no longer with us. It most definitely also means continued sympathy for the family and friends who lost loved ones on that terrible day.
“To remember, respect and reflect will certainly make us stronger as we move forward,” Anderson said.