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By Mike Hazlip—
A memorial event organized by American Legion Post 637 to mark two decades since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, drew several dozen people to Sylvan Cemetery Saturday morning.
The event began at 8 a.m. with remarks from Jim Monteton and Citrus Heights Police Lt. Jason Baldwin. A moment of silence was observed and taps played at 8:44 a.m., in accordance with the timeline of the attacks.
Monteton said he remembers a bond in the time shortly after the attacks of 2001 when people came together for a common cause, comparing 9-11 to Pearl Harbor.
“It was probably the strongest bond that we had in a long time. The people of America came together and didn’t like what happened and were ready to fight.”
Monteton also said first responders often come from a military background and choose to continue serving their communities.
“If you look around, you’ll find that a lot of these police officers and fire fighters are veterans, so they already put in their time,” Monteton said. “They put in their time serving this country and they came home and started serving their community.”
Lieut. Baldwin also gave a short address at the event saying he remembers living in Hawaii soon after his discharge from the Army.
“I remember falling to the floor in tears of anguish and rage,” he said. “And I said, well I guess I’m going back in.”
Baldwin thanked community members for their support and said he often receives comments of appreciation from people in Citrus Heights when in uniform.
“Thank you to my community that I serve, all of my heart and soul, and the same with the cops who are back here,” Baldwin said. “Never leave somebody behind, never forget what happened on 9-11.”
Several members of Post 637 were among those in attendance, wearing patriotic red, white, and blue clothing. Another attendee, Eric Olson, came to the event with his son Levi.
“It’s nice to see everyone come together,” Olson said. “Twenty years ago, it really brought everyone together. Obviously not as many people here today as I would have loved to have seen, but it’s good to come together and remember.”
Monteton was not discouraged by the turnout, saying attendance grows each year the event is held. This year marks the third year for the memorial event.
Monteton said he circulated an announcement on social media and received about 30 responses. He said he would like to see the city take a more active role in celebrating holidays and remembering veterans.
“I still think that it’s important to do,” he said. “We made that statement a long time ago to never forget, and people seem to forget.”
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