For me, 9/11 was our generation’s day of Infamy. It was the day that our lives were never truly the same. Just like many others, I remember where I was during 9/11 and just simply could not believe as the planes hit the towers. Nine Years later, I went out to the remembrance event at Crown Valley Park in Laguna Niguel to honor all who had died with members of our Scout Den.
The evening was just a beautiful evening. As we walked up with the Scouts, we were given American Flags and a copy of the event. I asked our Cub Scouts to help distribute the flags to incoming visitors. I saw a lot of familiar faces in addition to the City Dignitaries. It was a very solemn occasion as the OCFA bagpiper began the ceremony and as the Orange County Sheriff Explorer Honor Guard came up as all stood up to salute the flag to remember.
Dignitaries spoke at the event. The Mayor Pro Temp, Gary Capata, reminded us about the need to be kinder and gentler. During that day, there were no Democrats or Republicans. Everyone came together as Americans to remember and to reflect. It is a sad testament to our times that this unity that we so yearned for has truly disappeared from our political discourse. Yet, as Assistant Sheriff Mike James reminded the audience, the threat is very much real and evident. We must truly never forget.
In between the speeches by dignitaries, renditions of God Bless America and America the Beautiful was song by Brooke Ramel. It was very moving to truly remember what America was about. Yet, the highlight of the night was when Marine Staff Sergeant Jeffrey D. Wright spoke. He talked about his solemn oath to defend and to realize all that he had to contend with. He shared his pain, his fears and his sorrow at the over 5,800 dead Americans who had paid the ultimate sacrifice. He reminded the audience that it was not just the fallen, but it was also the families that had also suffered and also would suffer because those loved ones will have a void that will never be filled.
When I drove up to Crown Valley Park, I expected to have a problem finding a parking spot. I was surprised that I was able to park, frankly. I was hoping to see a deluge of residents showing up. Yet, that did not happen. Many who had showed up were community activists, Scouts and the families and City Officials. Although I had hoped to see a massive turnout at the event, it was still great to see the turnout. Hopefully as the 10th Anniversary of our generations “day of infamy” approaches, we will see more of a turnout. It is absolutely critical that we reaffirm our commitment never to forget while underscoring the essence of America.