Escalon Fire Department hosted its annual 9/11 remembrance on Friday, Sept. 9 this year, starting the solemn ceremony at 9:11 a.m. outside the firehouse on Coley Avenue.
A group of community residents, city officials, legislative representatives and a contingent of police, fire and ambulance service personnel joined for the ceremony.
Fire Chief Rick Mello outlined the events, giving a timeline of the coordinated terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 that resulted in the loss of thousands of lives in New York City’s twin towers of the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon and in a field in Pennsylvania, where passengers forced down a fourth hijacked airliner, short of its intended target.
Mike Anderson, whose own son was a U.S. Marine lost in action in 2004, spoke on behalf of Congressman Jeff Denham and reminded the crowd to never forget that attack; and to continue to focus on keeping the safety of Americans a priority.
Chief Mello noted that younger generations need to learn about that day and he said that, in the weeks and months that followed the attacks, the surge of patriotism made for a more unified, stronger country.
“Kneeling for the National Anthem was not an option,” Mello said.
A special bell ceremony tolled the ‘end of watch’ for those lost on 9/11 and the flag at the fire house was also raised and then lowered to half-staff in honor of the victims.
On Sunday, a different type of gathering brought together first responders and the community for a meal at the city’s Main Street Park, coordinated and served by members of the Saron Lutheran Church. Proclamations from the city were presented to each department – police, fire and Escalon Community Ambulance – recognizing them for the services they provide in keeping local residents safe. The community had a chance to come and dine with the first responders and offer their thanks as well.
“The proclamations say a lot, but our gratitude can never be fully expressed,” said City Manager Tammy Alcantor in making the presentations. “Escalon would not be as secure a city as it is without your efforts.”