Memorial services, prayer vigils and service projects were held across the Southland Tuesday to mark the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Society hosted an early morning ceremony at the Fallen Firefighters Memorial. LAFD Chief Brian Cummings hailed the firefighters and other first-responders who rushed into the doomed World Trade Center towers in New York, saying they were “armed only with compassion and trained only with a desire to help their fellow man and rush into those dangerous situations.”
More than 400 firefighters and police officers were among those who died in the attacks. Cummings also attended a service at the LAFD’s Frank Hotchkin Memorial Training Center in Elysian Park, where a 23-ton, 22-foot-tall steel column that was part of the World Trade Center’s lobby structure is on display.
The training center also has a sculpture, “Towering Memories,” that includes the names of nearly 3,000 people killed in Manhattan, at the Pentagon and in a Pennsylvania field, where another plane hijacked by al-Qaida operatives crashed.
“We have a duty to keep their memories alive and ensure that their spirits and the stories of their deeds live on in our hearts,” Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said.
LAFD Station 88 in Sherman Oaks held an evening remembrance ceremony attended by Cummings and other officials, including City Councilman Tom LaBonge. Brad Burlingame, whose brother, Charles, was the pilot of the hijacked plane that crashed into the Pentagon, was also scheduled to attend.
The fire station is home to California Task Force 1, the first urban search and rescue team called to the site of the collapsed World Trade Center towers. The station also has on display a 750-pound piece of the World Trade Center and a 100-pound piece of limestone from the Pentagon.
At Pepperdine University in Malibu, nearly 3,000 flags – one for each of the 9/11 victims – were displayed at the Alumni Park lawn in what has become an annual tradition. They will remain on display until Sept. 19.
Pepperdine alum Tom Burnett was among the passengers on United Flight 93 who fought back against the terrorist hijackers, leading to the crash of the plane in Shanksville, Penn.
The Muslim Public Affairs Council recognized the anniversary with an interfaith prayer service at the Islamic Center of Southern California in Los Angeles, while Santa Monica held remembrance ceremonies at each of its fire stations beginning at 6:45 a.m., and featuring the ringing of bells at 7 and 7:28 a.m., signifying the times the World Trade Center towers fell.