The High Desert Remembers 9/11

Americans of all ages came to honor those who gave their life for freedom. Photos By Nikki Garrett Metzger/High Desert Daily

To view a gallery of pictures of 9/11 ceremonies, click here.

By Nikki Garrett Metzger

Managing Editor

(Victor Valley) – High Desert residents joined Americans all across the country in remembering the events that took place on September 11th, 2001.

There were many ceremonies across the Victor Valley. Among them was a “United We Stand” memorial event and Public Awareness Fair held at Victor Valley College, Fire, law enforcement, emergency rescue service representatives, military, and private citizens came together to honor 9/11 victims and first responders who lost their lives on that fateful day.

The student-designed and -erected campus memorial was the center piece for a remembrance program that included readings, music and memorial messages from community leaders.  A public-safety fair and blood drive was also held at the college.

Another event that took place was at Banner Mattress in Victorville. Stardust 910-AM morning personality Steve “Stevarino” Elliott invited residents to come out and sign a card honoring the heroes of 9/11.  Everyone who signed the card was offered an American Flag or commemorative decal to commemorate the anniversary.

Several Banner Mattress stores across Southern California were holding similar card signings, and the cards will be sent to the New York Fire Dept, New York Police Dept, the Pentagon Memorial, the Flight 93 National Memorial Campaign, and “A Million Thanks” which is an organization that collects cards to send to troops.

In Barstow a huge crowd gathered at a 9/11 Tribute ceremony at Barstow High School to honor active duty military, veterans, law enforcement, fire and EMS personnel.  The event included speakers from Ft. Irwin, MCLB, Air Force, elected officials, and local law enforcement, fire and EMS officials, including Barstow Mayor Joe Gomez, San Bernardino County First District Supervisor Brad Mitzelfelt, Assemblywoman Connie Conway, and Senator Jean Fuller.  A community choir sang, the Barstow High School and Junior High School bands played, and there was a very stirring performance of “Freedom is Never Free” by Ben Herog, Tom Sibole, and Brian Zane that brought the crowd to its feet.

Barstow’s proximity to Fort Irwin and the Marine Corp Logistical Base means that many military families make Barstow their home. There were many veterans in the crowd and they were called out and recognized during the ceremony.

Commanders from the base also spoke during the ceremony, including Col. Daniel Ermer, USMC, Base Commander of the Marine Corp Logistical Base; Col. Robert S. Brown, USA, Chief of Staff, Ft. Irwin NTC; and Col. Gregory E. Schwab, USAF, Commander 95th Air Base Wing, Edwards Air Force Base.

The American Veterans Traveling Tribute, a 380-foot traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall was the back drop for the 9/11 tribute ceremony.  Once the festivities ended many people went to the wall to look for the names of loved ones among the 58,253 names inscribed on it.  Other displays included the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a 9/11 tribute with the names of all 2,984 casualties organized by location at the time of death, a display of USA founding and significant historical documents, including the Constitution, Declaration of Independence and other relevant documents, and vehicle displays from local law enforcement and fire departments.

For many, it seemed a very emotional day.  Many spoke about where they were when the terror attacks took place 10 years ago. Some spoke about how life in American has changed since then.  Some felt a swell of pride to be an American.  But the overall theme of the day seemed to be, “We Will Never Forget”.

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