FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – Communities across the Central Valley came together on Sunday in recognition of the 21st anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed and over 6,000 others were injured when four planes were hijacked by 19 terrorists and flown into the twin towers of downtown Manhattan’s World Trade Center, the Pentagon in Washington, DC, and crash-landed in a field in Pennsylvania on September 11, 2001.
At the World Trade Center, 343 firefighters and paramedics, 23 New York City police officers, and 37 Port Authority police officers lost their lives while working to evacuate civilians and save office workers trapped on the higher floors of the buildings.
In Clovis, the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony was held at the California 9/11 Memorial on Never Forget Lane to honor the civilians and first responders who lost their lives in the attacks.
Members of law enforcement and military agencies from across Fresno County gathered at the memorial to pay their respects during the event.
In Fresno, crowds gathered during the evening at Todd Beamer Memorial Park to honor the memory of Todd Beamer and all of the victims who lost their lives. Beamer, a Fresno State alum, was a passenger aboard United Airlines Flight 93 when it was hijacked.
He led the other passengers in an attempt to regain control from the hijackers, but the plane lost control during the struggle and crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.
All 44 people onboard the plane were killed, but the brave efforts of Beamer and the other passengers prevented the plane from crashing into the hijacker’s intended target, which is still unknown to this day.
“So, when you think about leaders, when you think about heroes, a lot of people think about what they are going to do in a time like that. But it’s not until you do it — it’s really just talk,” said Fresno Police Deputy Chief Mark Salazar during the event. “[Beamer] showed he did it, along with many other men and women on that flight.”
Of the four aircraft hijacked on September 11, United Airlines Flight 93 was the only one that did not reach its intended target.
Law enforcement members and the public gathered in Mariposa County for a memorial at Mariposa Art Park.
Deputies from the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office raised a customized American flag, which featured the saying ‘never forget’ alongside a depiction of the twin towers.
In the south valley, members of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office, Tulare County Fire Department, Visalia Fire Department, and more took a moment to remember the day that changed the United States forever.
“We can never forget the lives that were lost protecting the community they served. That’s why we remember 9/11,” Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said during the event. “…We can never forget that we are Americans. That’s what 9/11 represents.”