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Central Coast residents honor victims of 9/11 with memorials, paddle out

Posted: 4:32 AM, Sep 11, 2019
Updated: 2019-09-11 14:45:54-04

Americans across the country, including here on the Central Coast, are remembering the nearly 3,000 lives lost on this day in 2001, when a series of terror attacks left an indelible mark on the U.S.

A 9/11 memorial is set to commence at 8 a.m. Wednesday at Fire Station 1 on Broad Street in San Luis Obispo and check-in for a memorial paddle out at Pismo Beach at 9:30 a.m.

"Regardless of where you're from, whether you're 3,000 miles away or 3 feet away, it affects you," Ampsurf Founder and CEO Dana Cummings said.

From the skyline of New York City to the shorelines of the Central Coast, people like Cummings are organizing memorials to honor those who died 18 years ago on this day.

"We don't want to forget the men and women who were just going about their day that day and didn't do anything and were murdered," Cummings said.

Cummings could have lost a family member to the attacks, but thankfully, his brother-in-law was reassigned to work in a different building that day.

For all those who didn't make it out alive, Cummings is leading the 15th annual paddle out at Pismo Beach to allow those who remember the tragedy to pause for a moment of remembrance and reflection.

"As surfers, when we lose someone we love or care about, it's traditional to do a paddle out for them to honor them," Cummings.

The paddle out is free and all are encouraged to attend. A commemorative T-shirt can be purchased with a $20 registration fee paid online in advance of the paddle out.

Just up Highway 101 in San Luis Obispo, firefighters will gather round the 911 memorial for a special service. The service commences at 8 a.m. and features local students who plan to speak.

"343 red posts and 60 blue posts that are honoring the 343 firefighters that passed and the 60 police officers that passed on that day," San Luis Obispo Fire Department Admin. Analyst James Blattler said.

Blattler said the posts within the memorial, which was erected in 2015, are a daily reminder of why he chose his career.

"I was in high school when it happened and it really struck a chord with me and made me want to get into the fire service," Blattler said.

For many, Sep. 11 is a day of mourning, but for others like Blattler and Cummings, it's a driving force.

"It matters that we're Americans and we were violated," Cummings said. "This is a way for us to remember and memorialize those folks that were taken from us."