Stirring tributes span LA County on 9/11 20th anniversary – Daily News

The strength and unity of Americans were on display on Saturday as cities across Los Angeles County commemorated the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Related: Listing of today’s ceremonies in L.A. County and memorial sites to visit

The tributes began early, especially at LAX where a moment of silence was held at 5:46 a.m. Saturday to commemorate the time that American Airlines Flight 11, which departed Boston Logan International Airport for LAX, hit the World Trade Center’s North Tower — not long before a separate plane bound for LAX hit the World Trade Center’s South Tower at 6:03 a.m. Pacific time. The third flight bound for LAX, American Airlines Flight 77, departed from Washington Dulles International Airport before hitting the Pentagon at 6:37 a.m. California time.

“While New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia bore the brunt of this horrific day two decades ago, Los Angeles was also deeply impacted by the loss of the passengers and crew on the three planes that were originally heading to LAX that morning,” said Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that manages LAX.

A second moment of silence and a color guard ceremony was held at LAX at 8:43 a.m. inside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station at Tom Bradley International Airport.

Torrance residents arose before the sun to mark the 20th anniverdary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, attending a ceremony at City Hall as 5:46 a.m. on Saturday. Photo: Hunter Lee, SCNG

Two decades later. the scenes still evoke emotional responses, evident at memorials across the region this weekend.

Torrance residents were so dedicated to showing their support that some arose before the sun to honor the victims, survivors, families and first responders of the attacks at 5:46 a.m. in front of City Hall.

“Among the passengers on that flight was John Wenckus, a 46-year-old Torrance resident returning home from a visit with his family,” Torrance Mayor Pat Furey said. Wenckus was traveling from Boston back to Southern California with a friend, John Hofer of Long Beach, from his family’s annual golf tournament in Cape Cod.

“I didn’t know John,” Furey added. “But like so many folks, he came to the Golden State and Torrance to follow his dreams.”


“One can only wonder what great things he could have accomplished,” Furey said before leaders also took a moment to reflect on the first responders and the civilian volunteers who leaped into action — and eventually gave their lives as they attempted to clear rubble and search for survivors.

“I will never forget the silence when the first plane struck the tower,” said Torrance Police Chief Jeremiah Hart. “Firefighters climbed up stairs they would never descend, and yet they moved on still.”

“Police officers running through smoke even though they couldn’t see and they moved on still,” he added. “Citizens moving over rubble, unable to breath and yet they moved on still.”

Their sacrifice, Hart said, calls us to action today.


Local first responders concluded the event by ringing a bell, typically meant to signal the start of the morning shift, but today, it was to honor their fallen brothers and sisters.

“It is customary for the last bell be sounded for our brothers and sisters who have paid the supreme sacrifice,” said Torrance Fire Chief Martin Serna. “For having selflessly given their lives for their fellow man, their task completed, their duty done.”

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