In the decade since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 2001, wars are still being fought – one the longest in U.S. history – at a cost of trillions of dollars and thousands dead.
The community of Big Pine will be holding a day of remembrance for those who perished on 9/11 in the armed conflicts since, as well as to give thanks to those who stepped up during the town’s catastrophic Center Fire. The event at Mendenhall Park starts at 6 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11.
Those attacks on 9/11 killed nearly 3,000 combined on the planes, in New York and at the Pentagon, and the war in Iraq has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers. The war in Afghanistan, the longest continuous war so far in U.S. history, has claimed more than 1,600 U.S. soldiers.
The name of each and every American who has perished in the attacks and in the subsequent wars will be posted along the border of Mendenhall Park in Big Pine on Sunday, Sept. 11.
The memorial is not a fundraiser, but a way to remember and honor those who have suffered and those who are still trying to heal, said one the events organizers, Pat Calloway.
The day will start among the first rays of a new rising sun at 6 a.m. with local Boy Scouts raising the stars and stripes then lowering it to half-mast as Stan Smith plays “Revely” on trumpet.
Breakfast for a $5 fee will be served at 7 and a Service of Remembrance will be held at 9:30 at the basketball court. Calloway said the service will be open to anyone who wants to speak about 9-11. There will be songs and a passing of the “Torch of Freedom,” Calloway said. The flame-less torch will be passed to anyone who wishes to speak and then placed in the hands of a scaled-down Statue of Liberty.
Carnival games, arts and crafts and horse shoes will be offered after noon with Dick’s Smoke House the official lunch vendor. There will be booths for vendors and craftspeople, with space still available. Calloway said there are some tables and shade canopies available, but quantities are limited.
Calloway said that the ceremony and accolades for those who helped out during the Center Fire from March will begin at 3. She said the Big Pine Community United Methodist Church and the Reverend Karen Moore will be honored.
“The church has done so much,” Calloway said with a pause. “From handling money collections to the mountains of donations.”
She said there will be gifts and certificates for those many first responders and those who have helped after the flames were doused. These include members of California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, the California Highway Patrol, the Inyo County Sheriff’s Department, and the volunteer fire departments from Big Pine, Bishop, Lone Pine and Independence.
She said some of these organizations will be receiving American flags that once flew at the White House. Calloway said she hopes some of the victims of the fire will be in attendance to personally award the gifts.
After that ceremony, there will be Native American dancing and drumming with Sage Romero.
Calloway said several citizens have worked for more than 18 months planning and arranging the event. She said the posts and auxiliaries of local the Veterans of Foreign War and American Legion have been invited to attend as has the local Armed Forces recruiter.
Smith will close out the event with a rendition of “Taps” and the lowering of the flag at 6 p.m.
Calloway, who read the names and the ages of those who perished just after 9/11, said, “We should and need to remember these kids, so many of them and so young.”
For more information about breakfast, call Bob Landers (760) 938-2785. For more about the games and crafts, contact Beth Haifley on Facebook or at (360) 513-4817. For more about the booths, contact Calloway at (760) 938-2304 or by e-mail at email@example.com , or the church at (760) 938-2320 or firstname.lastname@example.org .