Hundreds showed their support during a 9/11 remembrance and rededication ceremony at London Bridge Beach in Lake Havasu City Sunday.
River Scene asked a handful of the many in attendance why they attended and what 9/11 means to them. Here are their responses:
“These are artifacts and some of the things we used,” said Thomas Fenech, New York City Fire Department, who had items displayed at the ceremony. “I was extremely active on 9/11 … I was in the first building when it collapsed. After recovering, I went back and was blown off the street when the second building went down. Then, I worked at Ground Zero for eight months.”
“I’m from New Jersey, I was there and saw it burning,” said Ted “TBear” Popovich, Vietnam veteran, of Havasu. “When it went down, we all went down to our shores and could see the smoke. I’ll never forget that day because my grandson was born when the second tower was coming down. If it wasn’t for my grandson being born, my son-in-law would’ve been in the building because he worked in New York.”
“In remembrance of 9/11, and of the police and first responders we lost,” said “Dirt” Grimes, Vietnam veteran of Havasu.
“We want to show our support as a group because we all love our country and it’s important to be part of the community and share our dogs,” said Valerie Candelaria, of London Bridge Pet Partners.
“To remember the twin towers and the people that died there,” said Kaden Brown, 9, of Havasu. “There were 2,977.”
“I think it goes along with what this country means, with patriotism,” said Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, Dist. 3, who is a local Vietnam veteran, “I’ve been to every one of the ceremonies they’ve had. And, with the resistance lately to stand up for the flag, I like to see all these people out remembering what it means to them.”
“To never be forgotten,” said Frank Emery, VFW Post 9401, and Vietnam veteran, of Havasu, “This brought us together for a while. If we don’t keep this continued it will just go by the wayside, and we just don’t’ want that to happen.”
The 60-minute ceremony in the park kicked off with emcee Bud Watts, of the local Marine Corps League, and prayer by local veteran chaplain Sisto Sandoval. There was a moment of silence before the Marine Corps League, VFW, American Legion, and Lake Havasu City police and fire departments presented the colors.
A flag-raising ceremony of the American Flag, POW/MIA Flag, was followed by the National Anthem sung by Jeff Young, local teacher at Thunderbolt Middle School. The Lake Havasu Young Marines escorted Lake Havasu City Military Moms, who led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
The raising of the Memorial Flags commenced, which included the Arizona Flag, New York Flag, Pennsylvania Flag, flags representing each of the five branches of the U.S. military, and local police and fire department flags.
Havasu Fire’s Division Chief Jeff Harran and Engineer Mark Martz led the Bell Ceremony. The department’s Pipe and Drum Team played “Amazing Grace.”
A flag-folding was narrated fold-by-fold, and local Gold Star Mothers Lori Deysie and Mona Hester did a wreath placement.
Guest speakers included Havasu Mayor Mark Nexsen and Judge Mitchell Kalauli, who heads the local Veteran’s Court.
Lake Havasu High School choir members sang “Proud to Be an American,” which was followed by a rifle salute and playing of Taps.
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