“Good morning. On Sept. 11, 2001, an attack was launched on American soil…” With these words, or similar, the Verdugo Fire Communications Center each year begins its region-wide 9/11 bulletin, remembering the horrific events of 9/11/2001, and taking a moment to honor the fallen first responders that died that morning.
One year after the attacks, New York Magazine reported that fewer than 300 of the victims’ bodies were found “intact” and that more than 1,700 families received no remains at all. It estimated that more than 1,600 people lost a spouse, and more than 3,000 children lost a parent in the attacks. More than 1.5 million tons of debris were removed from the WTC site, at which fires continued to burn for 99 days after the attacks. And according to the Magazine, nearly 150,000 New York jobs were lost as a result of the attacks, and the economic impact on the City in the month following the attacks was a loss of more than $100 billion. The magazine also reported that twenty percent of Americans knew someone that was hurt or killed in the attacks.
In front of the Sierra Madre fire station on Sunday, 9/11, members of the Sierra Madre Fire Dept. and the Sierra Madre Police Dept. will stand at attention as Verdugo makes its annual announcement, as they have each year since 2001.
“It’s been seven years, and I wonder are we starting to forget? I remember how horrified I was when the towers fell, only guessing on how many people died,” said Sierra Madre Fire Chief Stephen Heydorff after the 2008 service. “When you remember that the first couple years after the attacks, there were 100 people at these services with us, and today you look around and it was just a few family members…We’ll continue to do this each year, and hope that we can remind people that this is something that needs to be remembered every year, not just on the more recognized five and ten year incremental anniversaries,” he added.
This year is one of those incremental anniversaries, the tenth. In recognition of the date, SMFD and SMPD are expanding the ceremony, adding to the service the laying of a memorial wreath by the stations monument in honor of the 9/11 fallen, as well as the ringing of the bells in honor of the fallen, a firefighter tradition that goes back more than 150 years.
The public is invited to attend the ceremony, which will take place at 6:45am, Sunday, September 11th. Bean Town Coffee House will be providing continental breakfast that morning for those in attendance. Leonora Moss is donating the wreath that will be lain at the Firefighter’s 9/11 memorial.