It’s the fourth year the San Luis Obispo City Fire Department and the American Legion have come together for a September 11 memorial service at Fire Station 1, according to Fire Chief Garret Olson.
"A Day of Remembrance World Trade Center" brought in dozens of spectators from the youth to military veterans. The event started with the honor guard, which was followed by a march by Central Coast Pipes and Drums. City officials from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office, San Luis Obispo Police Department, and Cal Poly ROTC were also in attendance.
"It’s really special to us because we see the youth turn out," said Olson.
Speakers at the event included Boys State Winner William Hastings and Girls State Winner Taylor Young who both read their speeches on what commitment means. Laguna Middle School 8th grader Lucy Reed, who was born after 9/11 happened, also spoke at the ceremony.
"Commitment is what firefighters and policemen showed when they ran into the World Trade Center on September 11, 2011, knowing that they might not ever return.," Reed read aloud to the crowd.
"I think it’s important that younger kids are here and they’re getting impacted by this too," Reed said.
On a day when Americans say "never forget," a younger generation is learning to understand the meaning and impact this day made on the United States of America 17 years ago.
At Fire Station 1, attendees placed white roses on a 1,500-pound steel I-beam that came from the twin towers. Surrounding the beam are 403 vertical rods that symbolize the 403 first responders that lost their lives that day.
"It is an intimate, tactile, very emotional experience here," Olson said.
The touching memorial remembers the tragedy and celebrates heroes, linking an older generation to the youngest.
"This event is about 9/11, but it’s centered on our youth and our future leaders so that we can help instill in them a context of 9/11 that’s more than in a page in a history book," Olson said.
The memorial is open to spectators any day of the week. It’s located at 2160 Santa Barbara Avenue.