Claremont commemorates those lost September 11, 2001

by Andrew Alonzo |
On a muggy Friday afternoon at the Spring Street Center, about 60 residents, including Mayor Jennifer Stark, came out to honor the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

The event, titled Never Forget, was hosted by AgingNext and started early at 8 a.m. For an hour, organizations set up their booths, including the Service Center for Independent Life, Claremont’s Community Emergency Response Team, Inter Valley Health Plan, Park Tree Community Health Center, the La Verne Band of Brothers and the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 12034.

At 9 a.m., more residents began trickling in as the event opened to the public. While some donated blood at the Life Stream Blood Bank, others stopped by the AgingNext booths to pick up a Vial-of-Life, an oversized prescription drug bottle for medications.

Disaster workshops were also available for residents that signed up days prior. Each organization brought merchandise and pamphlets, with hand-fans being the most popular item. Yes, it was hot.

Overall, inside the quaint and often quiet Spring Street Space, there was something for every resident to get involved with and enjoy.

At 11 a.m., AgingNext CEO Floy Biggs stepped to the podium at the North end to welcome everyone and thank them for coming. She then welcomed Mayor Stark, who, along with the other speakers, honored those “who made the ultimate sacrifice.”

“And let us never forget, or squander, our shared humanity,” Mayor Stark continued.

Enrique Robles, the deputy chief of staff for Congresswoman Judy Chu, explained how it’s important to come together each year to commemorate “that terrible September morning.” He also said that Americans have to remember “our own mistakes and the lessons we learned” due to the terror attacks.

“Like not letting security become an excuse to erode civil liberties. For many Americans who are Muslim, Arab, Shik, or South Asian — the days, months and years following September 11 meant more suspicion, more harassment and too often more violence.”
Joined by the La Verne Band of Brothers and Daniel Lopez, commander of VFW Post 12034, Chaplin Frank Munoz of the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center then said a prayer for the souls of those who gave their lives on that day. Attendees bowed their heads as Taps was played.

Raul Rodriguez of the Kiwanis Club then read the names of the Southern California natives who perished on 9/11. A moment of silence was held for all the victims of 9/11, and the 13 service members who died in the Afghanistan explosions on August 26.

Concluding the recognition ceremony was Miss Lillie Knauls, an award-winning gospel singer, who sang God Bless America with the help of all in attendance. A hot dog lunch was provided by the Kiwanis Club after the ceremony.

Showing up late to the festivities was Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, who shared a personal story about how she was in Washington D.C. during the morning of September 11. Ms. Solis then presented Ms. Biggs and Mayor Stark with a commendation certificate in recognition of AgingNext’s outstanding work.

September 11, 2001
Twenty years ago, four planes were hijacked by extremists known to have ties to the terrorist organization, Al-Qaeda.

At around 9:00 and 9:20 in the morning, two planes, American Airlines Flight 11 and 175, struck New York City’s Twin Towers, also know at the World Trade Centers.

A third flight, American Airlines Flight 77, slammed into the Pentagon shortly after at around 9:35 a.m.

A fourth flight, United Airlines Flight 93, did not reach its target destination as passengers were able to overpower the four hijackers — the plane ended up crashlanding into a small field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania after the struggle.

At ground zero, the Twin Towers, 2,753 victims are believed to have been lost. The total death toll of 9/11 stands at approximately 2,977 according to CNN.

In a recent New York Times article citing the New York Medical Examiner’s office, “There are 1,106 victims whose remains have not been found.”


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