If there’s one phrase that was repeated most often at a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony Tuesday, it was this: We will not forget.
The Bakersfield Fire Department held a ceremony at the 9/11 World Trade Center Memorial at the substation on Buena Vista Road. The event included speeches from the police and fire chiefs as well as Mayor Karen Goh, along with music and presentation of the BPD and BFD Honor Guards.
“There will be no forgetting of September the 11th,” Goh said. “Remember the hours after Sept. 11 when we came together as one. It was the worst day we all had ever seen, but it brought out the best in all of us, and today we commemorate that day, the worst day and the best.”
Goh said she had been living and working in New York at the time of the attacks.
BPD Chief Lyle Martin talked about his personal experiences on Sept. 11, when he was a watch commander who was nearing the end of a midnight-to-6 a.m. shift when he saw the news break on TV.
“I can see, smell, feel like it was yesterday,” he said. “I found myself glued to the coverage. We knew our lives had changed forever. When that Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashed into that north tower, it started a chain of events that changed my professional and personal life in ways I never could have imagined.”
Fire Chief Anthony Galagaza said Sept. 11, 2001 is a day that brings vivid memories for most people, in terms of what they were doing and who they were with at the time.
“It is a moment in time that cannot be erased from our memories and they help keep those who lost their lives in our thoughts,” he said.
While Galagaza said it was a dark period for the country, there were a few positive things to come from going through it.
“Our world changed in many devastating ways on Sept. 11, 2001, yet from the rubble of that tragic day came the positive of a heightened appreciation of first responders and the military, the men and women who put their lives on the line when others are in danger,” he said.
Galagaza said he believes that appreciation has continued to this day and asked attendees to continue to keep our military, dispatchers and first responders in their thoughts and prayers in recognition of the sacrifices they’ve made.
Galagaza also had one last request of the audience Tuesday.
“Never forget what happened on that devastating day that forever changed a nation. Never forget how, in the face of evil, the community came together as one,” he said. “Never forget the innocent civilian lives that perished that late summer day in September, who going to work that very morning never expected to be subjected to such horror and fear. Never forget those who survived the attack and still suffer from the effects of that tragic day. So I ask again: Never forget Sept. 11, 2001.”