In solemn remembrance of the victims who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Exchange Club of the San Ramon Valley has continued its tradition of honoring the fallen and celebrating the service of first responders and military veterans who continue to protect their communities, with a ceremony at the All Wars Memorial in Danville.
This year marks the 17th anniversary of the attacks, and the ceremony took care to recognize the service of first responders locally and nationally, with a particular emphasis on the police and firefighters who combated last year’s devastating Napa County fires.
“It’s event like these that remind me of the resilient nature of Americans. Resilience is who we are, it's a part of every American,” Danville Police Chief Allan Shields said at the event. “What I am grateful for is that even with all the events that have occurred, we still have good men and women that are lining up to be our future first responders.”
The evening saw a large audience of approximately 300 people attended the event including over 100 scouts from around the valley, the Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Honor Guard and bagpipers, and the Monte Vista High School choir who sang the national anthem and several other melodies for all in attendance.
Local government officials were out in force as well, in addition to Chief Shields, State Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, Danville Mayor Newell Arnerich, council members Karen Stepper, Robert Storer, Renee Morgan and Lisa Blackwell were in attendance.
“I want to ask this one thing, after we leave here if we can try on a day like today and remember to put a smile on our face to ask those around us to smile and see if we can make today better, that will prove to the word the resilient nature of Americans. We carry on and will continue to make our lives better,” Shields continued.
Keynote speaker Andy Swartzell, acting commander of the Bay Area Disaster Medical Assistance Team, served several weeks on the New York World Trade Center recovery mission, and spoke of his experiences.