American Legion Post 795 hosts 22nd anniversary memorial of the 9/11 attacks
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Calif. – The American Legion Post 795 hosted a memorial event to honor those who passed away in the 2001 September 11 attacks.
The Legion’s Post Commander, Tom Millham, recounted the clock strikes in real-time on Monday morning.
“8:46 a.m., the first plane piloted into the North Tower of the Trade Center most of the observers thought of this as an accident,” Millham said to the attendees Monday morning. “Then the second plane hit and there was no doubt the United States was under attack.”
22 years ago two buildings, built by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, came unexpectedly crumbling down, as well as an attack on the Pentagon and a plane that went down in Pennsylvania. That day 2,977 lives were lost; including first responders who ran in to save those who couldn’t get out on their own, many buried beneath the rubble.
Brooke Lane District V Supervisor spoke during a proclamation on behalf of the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors.
“When we remember and reflect on that day, it is our fellow man that is seared into our hearts and memories,” Lane said. “Amidst images of destruction, we remember with sacred reverence our first responders who ran in when everyone else was running out. We remember the average men and women who rose up as heroes to help, comfort or save people they did not even know.”
“May we continue to bear witness to their sacrifice to our children and grandchildren, making sure that their stalwart bravery is known and remembered as a sacred sacrifice, recognizing that freedom is won at an unspeakable cost,” Lane said.
The somber event included prayer, moments of silence and reflection for first responders and families of fallen men and women, both civilians and military members, and several end-of-duty rituals.
At the American Legion posts, a symbolic table is set to honor their “distinguished comrades who cannot join in the festivities of the day”, according to Bob St. Angelo, member of Post 795.
St. Angelo explained to those who gathered to mourn, even the round shape of the table held meaning: “that our concerns for them are never ending.”
There were 11 items set on the table, each with a meaning.
“The empty chair depicts an unknown face representing no specific member of our armed forces, a bible represents faith in a higher power and the pledge to our nation founded as one nation under God. The black napkin stands for the emptiness these warriors have left in the hearts of their families and friends,” St Angelo said.
One of the most sentimental items, a candle, symbolizes the everlasting hope for a joyous reunion with those not yet accounted for. St. Angelo tallied the approximately 81,600 soldiers either captured in war or missing in action in a list of conflicts in American history.
“Unless the lamp is tended the flame is always in danger of dying,” St. Angelo finished, explaining that holding ceremonies in remembrance of tragedies, such as 9/11, is about becoming beacons of light for those who have not yet returned or have yet to be accounted for.
South Lake Tahoe Fire Rescue Chief Jim Drennan performed and explained the “Series of Four Fives”. As early as 1865, series of four bell tones struck five times, separated by a slight pause, has signified a firefighters’ final duty.
Upon the end of the ceremonies, a bugle played “Taps,” signifying lights out and the end of the emotional ceremony at the American Legion Hall.
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