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American flags flew from the backs from trucks, motorcycles and hats as friends, family and community members marked the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks by honoring those who died on United Flight 93 at the flight's memorial in Union City Sunday afternoon.
"Through tragedy we have witnessed such tremendous bravery, great heroism and tremendous sacrifice," Reverend Albert Valencia said. "We honor this day those whose lives were so unselfishly given so that others would live."
"We do remember all that perished on this day 10 years ago." Union City mayor Mark Green spoke about the "duty of citizenship" and how it applied to these unselfish people. "They didn't sign up that day on that flight to be self sacrificing people to prevent a bigger tragedy at the Capitol Building," Green said. "Yet, spontaneously they did the right thing."
"We need to be looking to each other and inside of ourselves for more examples of this." Green also recognized the service officers who sacrificed their lives on Sept. 11 doing their job. "They had a job to do and they did it," Green said. Many of the speakers spoke of the united front the attacks created in the United States and this resonated with the attendees.
"It created a stronger United States," Melody Mileham of Union City said. Mileham and her husband, Ralph, have attended the annual commemoration each year since it was erected in 2008 and carried modified American commemorating the 9/11 attacks. One flag read the names of those who passed away during the attacks in place of the stripes and the second had the New York skyline in place of the stars. Ralph said 9/11 was much like the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 but that the 2001 attack meant something more.
"They came to our soil, attacked our soil," Ralph said. Many called what the passengers on Flight 93 did heroic but California Department of Veterans Affairs deputy secretary Trevor Albertson took it a step further. "Just because you don't wear a uniform and you don't raise your hand and enlist doesn't mean you're not a warrior,"
California Department of Veterans Affairs deputy secretary Trevor Albertson said. "Those folks made themselves warriors that day." More than 300 people came to pay their respects, some arriving as early as 7 a.m. The National Flight 93 Memorial had its dedication ceremony today but, for some, the real home of the memorial is in the Bay Area. With a number of the passengers on Flight 93 from the Bay Area, Ralph said, "It's extremely important to have (a memorial) in the Bay Area."
The ceremony included messages from project creator Michael Emerson and project designer Robert Mowat, both who were unable to attend. "It is my hope that you take with you an optimism and inspiration from these lives; these stories, once you know them, filled with loving families, friends and accomplishments great and small," Mowat said in a message delivered by deputy city manager Tony Acosta. "This memorial illustrates the courage of every day people." Mowat called the events of 9/11 a "communal calamity" and "a societal tragedy."
Maurice Bohrer of Anderson Bros. & Johnson/Michels Corps., the company who donated the red granite for the memorials, channeled American heroes such as John Henry and John Hancock when speaking of the passengers of Flight 93.
"The monuments we have placed here in their memory stand strong and unshaken just like they did on that plane 10 years ago today," Bohrer said. "The vigilant, the active and the brave have always fought for freedom against oppression." Members of the Alameda County Fire Department and Union City police were also in attendance.
Bay City News