So We May Never Forget

This morning Harrison and I went over to the dedication ceremony of a local 9/11 memorial in front of our Library and Civic Center; I found out about it in late July when a fence went up around a small area and being the curious sort, I went to read the fine print of the attached sign. It was the initial ground breaking for a tribute to 9/11. I suppose that's one reason it was so on my mind this year and why I wrote about it. To this day, it's still incomprehensible.

It was an incredibly moving ceremony beginning with the Procession, flag raising and National Anthem. Including an Honor Guard, the Los Angeles Pipe and Drum and New York Police and Fire Dept. personnel that presented the flag to the US Marine Corps personnel.

Chaplain George Negrete of the Los Angeles City Fire Dept. opened up his invocation with the words of a song from Psalm 62:
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress,

I will Not be shaken.
The Mayor spoke, coins were presented, people were thanked, introductions made, a representative from the United Airlines Association of Fight Attendants and then two special guest speakers came to the podium to share their personal stories in a way that I had not heard before.

Because I had not heard a first-hand account from a loved one of a survivor - or A Survivor. To try to take you into their stories could/would not do them justice. So I will only tell you who they are.

Brad Burlingame is the President and CEO of the West Hollywood Marketing and Visitors Bureau. And the brother of Captain Charles Burlingame, pilot of American Flight #77 that was crashed into the Pentagon. He gave us an account of what he listened to on the Black Box, the heroic efforts of his brother's last four minutes of life. One day before his birthday.

Then keynote speaker, Bobby Senn (above) was invited to share his story; he was a first responder and was in the lobby of the South Tower when it collapsed. (He has also become very close to the fire Fighters of this city) He witnessed unfathomable events that day. Listening to him recount that day in detail was heart wrenching as he described seeing close friends in the NYFD die right in front of him. Even some of the nearby firefighters had to wipe their eyes.

The dedication was concluded with a 21-Gun Salute, "Taps" as the flag was lowered and finally, "Amazing Grace" played by the Pipe & Drum Band. Okay that was all enough to send me over the blubbering edge.

The Memorial consists of a 300 lb. beam from the Twin Towers nestled between black granite shaped like the Pentagon and a spherical sundial to represent hope. On the ground is red grass and red granite that represent Pennsylvania. The beam was a gift to the city's police and fire associations from the Fire Department of New York.

They had two stipulations: That people be able to touch it and it commemorate all those who sacrificed on Sept. 11, 2001.After the ceremony, families of the victims approached first to lay roses on the base and touch it. Others came up to it in quiet solace and for the first time touched a piece of that day.

So that we may never forget.

In Bobby Senn's words, go tell you family members you love them. Right now.

My Soul finds rest in God alone You are my Rock, my fortress. I will not be Shaken.


Unknown said...

I love the flag salute photo - it is wonderful!

Christina said...

Wow, that must have been insanely powerful and moving!

Cerulean Bill said...

That is awe-inspiring.

Andi said...

Amazing photos and descriptions...what an honor to have witnessed this dedication. I would have literally been moved far beyond tears.

Unknown said...

how was your day?
i liked your blog
you are fantastic!!!

really nice blog
fabulous fantastic
take care
see you

Cara said...

You sending me over the blubbering edge. Looks like it was a very moving ceremony.

Killlashandra said...

It's good to remember I agree. Great pictures of the event.

Stop by when you have a chance. I've give you something.

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