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By Mike Hazlip–
The second annual 9/11 observance in Citrus Heights was held Friday morning at Sylvan Cemetery against a backdrop of smoke-filled skies and chairs set apart for social distancing.
The observance, organized by Jim Monteton, began at 8:15 a. m., coinciding with the time American Airlines Flight 11 was hijacked on that fateful day in 2001 when two planes were deliberately flown into the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
The ceremony opened with the playing of the National Anthem, followed by remarks from Monteton, who said Americans have lost a sense of unity he remembers in the weeks following the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
“In Citrus Heights you could drive down one street, all flags,” Monteton told the scattered audience. “Drive down another street, all flags. It was amazing to see the unity. This was the strongest unity of the American people since World War II.”
Monteton said he fears remembrance of the most deadly terrorist attack on American soil will be lost on future generations, noting that “a whole generation [has been] born and have grown up during these 19 years.”
He views his task as being to keep the tradition alive.
“As American citizens, we made a commitment to remember, to never forget this terrible tragedy,” Monteton said. “And yet there’s so many people that have forgotten it, that aren’t even thinking about it.”
Among attendees were members of law enforcement and a retired fire fighter. A mother with her three daughters watched from outside the gazebo.
Citrus Heights Police Chief Ronald Lawrence also attended, along with another officer and a K-9 unit. The Sacramento Sheriff’s Department was represented by Deputy James Galovich.
Monteton said he contacted local fire and paramedic agencies, but was informed all of their members were on standby because of the wildfires currently raging through the state. He hopes next year’s 20th anniversary observance will be larger and have more agencies represented.
The ceremony was meant to honor not only those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001, but those who have succumbed to cancer and other illnesses as a result of exposure to dust and toxins in the debris.
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