Around the Victor Valley, people paused Monday to pay tribute to the memory of those who died in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
At Victor Valley College several hundred people attended to pay their respects, and to be among the first to get a glimpse of the new United We Stand monument. The monument features three arches symbolizing United flight 93, the twin towers and the Pentagon. A liberty bell hovers in the center as a symbol to America’s freedom.
“I think it is wonderful,” said Dr. Prem Reddy. Reddy established the Desert Valley Charitable Foundation. The foundation raised the funds that made the memorial possible. “People dedicated a lot of their time to make it a reality.”
The ceremony featured a color presentation by the Blue Eagles Honor Guard from March Air Force Base and a flyover by a Black Hawk helicopter from the Southern California Logistics Airport.
A common theme heard throughout the day was it’s easy for us to forget, but we must make it a point not to.
“We must tell everyone our story about 9/11,” said San Bernardino County Fire Capt. Dave Burkart. “So that they know it happened to us.”
Burkart was the keynote speaker at a flag lowering event at Hesperia Community Park. The 38-foot flag lowered to halfstaff, is the largest flag in the city. Burkart counseled firefighters in New York City following the aftermath of the terrorist attacks.
More than 100 residents and members of the Hesperia Fire Department attended the event.
In addition, members of the Apple Valley Chamber of Commerce honored firefighters and deputies Monday, during its monthly luncheon. People from several local businesses chipped in to pay for the lunch as a thank-you to the first-responders for putting their lives on the line every day.
“It’s hard to sit here and not forget our brothers who gave their life,” said Capt. Barry Moler. “We really do appreciate the community.”
“You go to events like this where there is a standing ovation,” said Capt. John McMahon of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Apple Valley station. “It’s nice to know the community support is behind you.”
The tributes to 9/11 victims continued at Victor Valley Community Hospital as members of the public and staff attended a short memorial service.
“It seemed the day was being overlooked,” said Ray Marien, public relations manager. “It was very distressing. We wanted to make sure we didn’t forget.”
A flag procession, memorial wreath presentation and speech by Victorville Mayor Michael Rothschild were featured in the ceremony.
Down in San Bernardino, at the County Government Center, a fire bell tolled at the exact moments the Twin Towers were struck by the two hijacked airliners. A plaque honoring the victims of the terrorist attacks was also unveiled. It will soon be installed near the County Government Center fountain.