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Remembering 9/11/01 By Dennis Kaiser | Fri, Sep 09 2011 01:00 AM

Where were you when you first heard about the terrorist attacks against our country on Sept. 11, 2001?

I was heading to work before the sun came up, driving down Frontera Street in San Clemente, heading for Lake Forest to do my job as the community newspaper editor of the Dana Point News for the Orange County Register. It is a steep hill, somewhat like a rollercoaster to drive. The way down can seem like a slippery slope and it is important to keep your eyes on the road

When I used to drive that route at such times, I usually kept the radio on as a companion to help me keep my eyes open.

About halfway down the road I heard a cackling coming out of the speakers as the very bad news started to spill. I never thought it was a joke. No, this terrible thing was really happening. Before I was on the freeway, I learned that the second tower had fallen. I knew by then that my life and the life of everyone I knew and cared about was forever changed.

Look around you. Try to take a trip at an airport. Compare it to what your life was before we knew how much the United States is hated in parts of the world. Life is not the same for any of us who knew the world before this tragic event that is now simply referred to as 9/11.

As Americans, we all share a common connection to 9/11. Some are more poignant than others. For example, I did not lose a spouse or immediate family member in those attacks. I did have a niece working in the city and another niece who had a job at the Pentagon. Having grown up in New York on Long Island, I’m fairly sure I’ve known someone who did lose a family member.

For those that lost loved ones, I hope the rest of us will never forget what was so pointlessly taken from them. We should never allow such people to go un-cared for or in some way un-supported; especially those who lost parents, who are now sometimes referred to as “the children of 9/11.” Their loss was even more tragic considering the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 were not acts of a declared war. They were acts of terrorism—something we knew very little about before that fateful day.

We know it now. Our bubble has burst.

I recently got a dose of the outfall of the 9/11 attacks when I went on a jet plane trip from California to the east coast to celebrate my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary and during a few other plane trips I’ve taken since 9/11. I grew up in an airline family. My father spent his working career for Pan American and retired as a vice president. My seven siblings and I flew in jets around the world by the time we were out of our teens. I can recall running from a shuttle into the airport with 15 minutes to spare to get on the plane and never missing a flight. Those of us who have traveled within the last 10 years known things have changed dramatically.

Now when I fly I have to arrive at the airport at least two hours before takeoff. By the time I had left home for good in my 20s, air travel had already lost a lot of its glamour.

Nowadays it’s become a virtual cattle call. Everyone who flies now is faced with the grim reminder of the terrorist attacks and must deal with the safety measures now deemed necessary in our time.

There have been many TV shows and other media events to mark these 10 years since the attacks. One that rings true is a clip of Paul McCartney singing his song “Freedom.” I always knew he was a great composer of songs, but that song seems to sum up what it’s all about. It was our freedom that was attacked that day. We have responded with safety measures, and new federal laws and practices that seem to have diminished our freedom.

However, we are staying resilient and we are alert to the possibilities of further acts of terrorism against our country and its people. We lost too many precious people and a bit of our freedom in the attacks. However, we remain far from giving in to the cowardly threats of those who hate us for our freedom.

It is a good thing for us to remember the tragedy. It is a way in which we can honor those who were lost and those who suffered the loss of friends and family members.

We spoke briefly to some of our local leaders about the event.

Seal Beach District One City Councilmember Ellery Deaton summed up the anniversary with the following statement:

“Remembering back 10 years ago still evokes a deep sadness and sorrow. Today my heart still goes out to those who lost their fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, wives and others they loved. Their loved ones are still gone, leaving a hole that can never be filled. This weekend for me will be one filled with the images of the destruction done, prayer for those who still mourn and prayer for our country.”

Dennis Kaiser is the editor of the Sun Newspaper


There are a handful of events to mark the 9/11-decade in the local area. Here are a few that the public may attend:

Grace Community Church   of Seal Beach

Senior Pastor Don Shoemaker and Grace Community Church will present “A Night for Remembering—On the 10th Anniversary” of the attacks on the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93, from 7 to 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 11 on the church lawn. There will be no charge for the event. It is funded by Grace Community Church and additional sponsors include local businesses and community organizations. For more information and to engage your business or community organization in this event, contact Vicki Barilla, Director of Community Outreach, at barilla@gracesealbeach.org or call her at 562-596-1605. Grace Community Church is at 138 8th Street, at the corner of 8th Street and Central Avenue in “Old Town” Seal Beach.

ACCORD Community First

ACCORD Community First, a Long Beach non-profit, will hold a tribute to the nation’s fallen heroes and first responders on Sept. 11, 2011 with the ninth year of the Remember 911 Motorcycle Ride.

The Official Ride will wind its way from Cooks Corner in Trabuco Canyon, Orange County; west to the coast; north up Pacific Coast Highway passing through southern California beach communities; and ending at McKenna’s on the Bay at Alamitos Bay Landing in Long Beach. Riders will be met with cheering crowds, families and friends, first responders and patriotic American’s of all types along the route.

Participants are able to register as an Official Rider at http://www.remember911ride.com.

Orange County Fire Authority

The Orange County Fire Authority will welcome visitors to many of its local fire stations. Each station will hold a brief memorial gathering around the flagpole from 8:45 to 9:15. To find a station near you go to the web site: www.ocfa.

Newport Harbor Lutheran Church

Members of Newport Harbor Lutheran Church, Mesa Verde United Methodist Church, the Orange County Women’s Chorus, and UCI’s Men in Blaque will join together to perform the Requiem Mass by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart on the tenth anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001 in remembrance of the terrorists’ victims.

The concert will take place at 7 p.m. at Newport Harbor Lutheran Church, 798 Dover Drive, and Newport Beach. It will also feature Perspectives on Peace from Bradley Stienstra, Pastor of Newport Harbor Lutheran Church Maria Khani, member of the Orange County Islamic community and frequent speaker on issues of faith and Mark Miller, Rabbi of Temple Bat Yahm in Newport Beach.

These brief meditations from Christian, Islamic, and Jewish leaders are intended to offer hope for the attainment of peace among coexisting religions and cultures. For more information, call (949) 548-3631.

Richard Nixon Library

Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Birthplace at 18001 Yorba Linda Boulevard, Yorba Linda will hold a series of events in memory of Sept. 11, 2001. At 10:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 9 it will feature a Presentation on the First-Response Efforts on 9/11 with Chris Kawai of the Los Angeles Fire Department. All day on Saturday there will be damaged steel and aerial fire truck open for public viewing. On Sunday, Sept. 11 the library will present Remembering 9/11: The 10th Anniversary. It will include remarks by Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and stories of bravery from Joe Torrillo, a FDNY Lieutenant who survived the collapse of both towers on Sept. 11, 2001.

 City of Anaheim

On Sunday, September 11, 2011, at Pearson Park Amphitheatre, the City of Anaheim will hold a memorial service to honor the tenth anniversary of the catastrophic terrorist attacks on America. At 12:30 p.m., the ceremony will commence with the presentation of colors by the Anaheim Police and Fire Departments to remind participants of the incalculable sacrifice the heroes of September 11 made to save others. After the procession, Brad Burlingame will speak. He is the brother of Charles 'Chic' Burlingame III, the pilot of Flight 77, which crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, killing all aboard the aircraft as well as 125 people inside the building. His sacrifice will serve to remind the Anaheim community of the incredible price paid on that morning.

City of Long Beach

The Long Beach Fire and Police Departments invite all to attend a ceremony honoring those who gave their lives in the 9/11 attacks. The ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. in front of the Police/Fire Memorial located on Chestnut Avenue South of Broadway.

City of Lakewood

Patriot Day Concert: At 6 p.m. in Del Valle Park (Woodruff Avenue at Arbor Road) the city will hold a Patriot Day Concert with tunes by the 300th Army Band, a memorial candle lighting and moment of silence. Light dinner items and snacks will be sold. Bring a blanket or low-rise lawn chair for seating. For information call 562-866-9771, ext. 2408.

City of Cerritos

Patriot Day Picnic: Assembly member Tony Mendoza will host his annual Patriot Day Family Picnic from 10 a.m. to noon in Cerritos Heritage Park, 18600 Bloomfield Ave. The event will feature food, entertainment and activities for children. Patriot Day Concert: The community is invited to attend a special Patriot Day Concert by the Cerritos College Community Band at 10 a.m. at the Cerritos Civic Center. You can come early and have a pancake breakfast prepared by a local Boy Scout troop. Breakfast will be served for a nominal fee from 8:30 to 11 a.m. For information call 562-916-1254.

Los Angeles County Fire Museum

In honor of the fallen heroes of 9/11, designer Mychael Darwin has created a leather and gold embellished fireman's protective turnout coat, known as the "America's Bravest 18-Karat Gold Memorial Turnout Coat." The one-of-a-kind jacket features all 343 names of the fallen firefighters and is valued at more than $100,000. It will be on display for one day only at the County of Los Angeles Fire Museum's Open House & Classic Car Show from Noon to 9 p.m. For information visit www.lacountyfiremuseum.com.

Cerritos Center

The public is invited to attend an Evening of Remembrance and Candlelight Memorial Sept. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at the Cerritos Civic Center. Patriotic prelude music performed by the Cerritos Community College Band will begin at 6:15 p.m. The event will be held in honor of those affected by the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, and will include performances by local choral groups and bands, a formal ceremony with the Cerritos City Council, a candlelight memorial, and a moment of silence. For more information, call the city's Recreation Services Division office at (562) 916-1254.

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