A Decade Later, Americans Remember and Learn from 9/11
Ten years after September 11th the memories are still fresh.
"It feels like yesterday but it feels like a hundred years ago," said Michelle Reuter, a survivor of the 9/11 attacks. Reuter was walking to work at the World Financial Center, which was right next door to the Twin Towers.
"I was two blocks away when the second plane hit and on the street when the first tower collapsed. I got buried in the cloud and the rubble and I was pretty sure I was going to die that day."
"I remember that morning, when it was morning in California, watching the TV and seeing people leap from the building because they didn't want to burn to death," remembers Gray Davis, former California governor.
"After I realized what was happening, I called my mom and my kids and my brother. He was stuck in Washington D.C. at the time. I remember hoping that not only as the mayor of Los Angeles he could get back to the city but certainly as my big brother I wanted him in town," said Congresswoman Janice Hahn, whose brother James Hahn served as Los Angeles mayor from 2001-2005.
Members of the Los Angeles Fire Department and local officials joined together at the LAFD Training Center for a remembrance ceremony and monument dedication.
A 23 ton, 22-foot tall steel column from the lobby of the World Trade Center was erected in honor of the first responders and victims of September 11th.
"On September 11, America's first responders were the face of America. They didn't run from the danger, they ran into the danger," said Davis.
Memories of from first responders were played in a video which included images of the towers as well as the sounds of the first 9-1-1 calls of that day.
The words of the national anthem, the ringing of the bell to honor those lost and the buzz of the planes flying in formation overhead filled the air with a strong sense of patriotism. But it was the moment of silence that brought the loudest sense of unity to the crowd gathered at Elysian Park.
"It's so different being out here in LA than being in New York. Sometimes you feel like people don't remember or people don't care, but they do it's really important to hear that.
Sunday's ceremony wasn't simply a time to honor and mourn those lost on 9/11 but also a time to reflect and learn from that day 10 years ago.
"One of the most sobering lessons we learned after 9/11 was that some of the loss of life that resulted that day with our first responders was that they were unable to communicate," said Hahn.
Los Angeles County is working on developing a multi-million dollar system that would enable better communication between first responders.
Marvin O. Cavanaugh, the Los Angeles County assistant sheriff discussed the system that could cost up to $800 million.
"When it gets launched, Los Angeles County will be the first county in the nation where first responders will be able to communicate. In command and control it is absolutely critical that the information from the event gets to a command center so decision can be made," said Cavanaugh.
Because a decade later, America is still learning from that fateful day.
"I hope that people learned that tomorrow isn't guaranteed and to live life to the fullest every day," said Reuter. "You don't know what's going to happen. I thought I was going to work like any other day. And I wasn't. None of us were. So it's important to remember that."