DOWNEY – Downey paid tribute to those lost 17 years ago with a September 11 memorial ceremony on Tuesday, held near City Hall.
Community members, various officials from local government, council members and the Downey Police and Fire Departments gathered to honor the memory of the thousands of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001.
“Nearly 3,000 amazing lives were taken so cruelly that early September morning that none of us will ever forget,” said Councilmember Alex Saab. “Today we gather and honor the courage of those who put themselves in harm’s way to save people that they didn’t even know. We also come together in strength and gratitude, and offer our condolences to those who lost someone they loved.”
“On September 11, great sorrow came to our country, and we learned as a country that from that sorrow came resolve…Downey, along with our nation, continues to remember so that that resolve that got us through that period in our history will never happen again. Those hijackers were instruments of evil who died in vain.”
The event featured a performance of the National Anthem and God Bless America by international singer Chad Berlinghieri, as well as the performance of Taps and “Amazing Grace” by a Downey High School student trumpet player.
Mayor Pro Tem Rick Rodriguez described the celebration as “a solemn event and celebration.”
“Our nation realized that we are truly one nation under God. We realized if we band together we can win, we can do things,” said Rodriguez. “I really am proud of our city. I really am proud of our police and fire and the things that they do.”
The event also featured brief comments from Councilwomen Blanca Pacheco and Courage Forward member Xavier Swenson.
Police and Fire Chiefs Carl Charles and Mark Gillespie presented a patriotic wreath during the ceremony before Gillespie tolled the bell before a moment of silence.
“On the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 a series of four attacks against the United States occurred, ultimately killing 2,996 people,” said Gillespie. “9/11 is the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States; 343 firefighters and 55 law enforcement officers died at the World Trade Center and on the ground in New York City. Additionally, 55 military personnel died at the Pentagon. Over 1,400 9/11 rescue workers who responded to the scene have since died.”
“The ringing of the bell is a public safety tradition dating back over two hundred years…today when a first responder dies in the line of duty, the mournful toll of the bell solemnly announces a comrade’s passing. The ringing of the bell tradition is a symbol which reflects honor and respect on those that have given so much and those who have served so well.”
Rodriguez closed the event, saying that he “prayed we can do this every year.”
“We should never forget,” said Rodriguez. “Pass on this story to the next generation of how appreciative we are to those who serve every single day.”