It was an emotional presentation Wednesday as the city's fire and police departments hosted a 9/11 memorial ceremony at Bakersfield Fire Station 15 / Police Substation at 1315 Buena Vista Road. The event began at 8:30 a.m. with a welcoming address by Deputy Fire Chief John Franco, followed by an invocation by Fire Chaplain Pastor Eric Simpson. A posting of the colors, national anthem and a rendition of Amazing Grace were in the offing as well. Public addresses were provided by guest speakers Mayor Karen Goh, retired U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Casey Schaubschlager, Police Chief Lyle Martin and Fire Chief Anthony Galagaza. Each provided personal anecdotes related to the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Things wrapped up with a rousing rendition of God Bless America by Robert Rodriguez, a public information officer with the California Highway Patrol.

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How many public employees took vacation to attend? Most, I guessed were on paid administrative invitation. How much did taxpayers and, hey, maybe it is worth it to pay locally to celebrate a national disaster. But, maybe better spend it on raises and pensions.

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