Monday, September 23, 2013

911 Resolve & Remembrance - Devendorf Park, Carmel-by-the-Sea

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"So that our future will know our past."


The Beginning 




In 2011, ten years had passed since the Carmel-by-the-Sea Firehouse had first requested a piece of steel from the World Trade Center (WTC) for a memorial.  For whatever reason, the request had not meet the NY and NJ Port Authority protocol and it appeared Carmel would not receive the steel.  This is when CarryAnn became involved and personally emailed and called the New York City Mayor's office hoping to get someone to approve the request for steel from the WTC.

In November of 2011 the Carmel 9-11 Memorial Group and CarrieAnn's tenacity was rewarded when she received a phone call from retired New York firefighter Lee Ielpi who told her Carmel would be getting their steel. Mr. Ielpi, President of the 911 Family Association, is in charge of a small amount of steel from the WTC that has been set aside for memorials, he had also lost his 29 year old son Jonathan Ielpi a father of two, and a firefighter from Squad 288 in Queens on 911.

The Journey 

In March of 2012, five firefighters from the Monterey Firefighters Association arrived in New York.  On March 19th, at Randall's Island, New York where the FDNY keeps steel from the WTC, the firefighters began the longest journey to date with a piece of WTC steel.

After participating in the ceremonial cutting of the 9-11 steel I-beam by FDNY Firefighter, Carl Scheetz on March 19th, Monterey Firefighter Ken Hutchinson and Jim Courtney Assistant Fire Cheif of the City of Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Sand City and military installations on Monterey Peninsula placed the 15" by 12" piece of steel into a custom box reflecting the WTC Memorial Fountains.

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The five men from the Monterey Fire Fighters Association, along with New York City State Troopers, and New York City Firetrucks, escorted the steel 45 minutes north to Carmel, New York. Carmel 911 Resolve & Remembrance video documents the journey.



From Carmel, New York the steel traveled 3500 miles over the course of about 12 days to Carmel-by-the Sea, California.


And until a proper place was prepared for the memorial steel, it was temporarily displayed on the ground floor of the Harrison Memorial Library. 

The Procession

On September 11, 2013 a
solemn procession
of historic fire engines,


members of  Boy Scout Troop 127


and Salinas Color Guard 


were led by bagpipe player and
Salinas Police Officer
from City Hall
up Ocean Avenue to
Devendorf Park. 


Here Monterey Fire Station #1's ladder truck



was extended to its maximum 105 feet flying Old Glory proudly over the "Resolve & Remembrance" Memorial resting place, the northwest corner of the park. 


The Ceremony 

Firefighters took their seat, 


and Hilary Landry 


 introduced Pastor Mike Harbert 
 for an opening prayer. 


"...God we are remembering the loss of life that is sacred to you and to all of us that on this 12th anniversary, we not only remember but we come God to dedicate ourselves to be part of the solution.  For you are a God of life, not of death.  And so living God we invite you to this gathering...meet us and help us... as we prepare to continue our lives here on earth.  Thank you for hearing our prayer. Amen." 

John Mandurrago, President of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Kiwanis explained the Kiwanis Club contribution to the 911 Memorial.  "This is our second year in sponsoring this tribute to all of those individuals lost in the World Trade Center tragedy.  For me personally it ranks as one of our most proudest moments in our clubs history.  It has been an honor to work along side CarrieAnn and many others to bring this memorial to fruition.  



Last year and again this year, our club sponsored a local competition and awarded two young people who provided an essay or a poem commemorating the 911 tragedy with a certificate of appreciation and a check for their efforts.  This year we were able to increase the amount of the award."  


Before Lisa DeMarchi introduced
 the scholarship winners, 
she read the following letter: 


"Dear Friends:  I want to commend and thank the citizens and community of Carmel for creating a permanent memorial that includes and incorporates a steel piece which was retrieved from the Twin Towers sight in New York City.  Today we remember all of those who were killed by that tragic attack twelve years ago, innocent people who were living their lives when tragedy struck.  The nation vowed to go after those who planned and conducted that brutal attack.  My proudest moment as CIA director was to lead the operation that brought justice to Osama Bin Laden.  The dedication of our intelligence and military personnel involved in that effort is a tribute to the brave men and women who put their lives on the line everyday to protect America.  The success of that mission made clear to the world that nobody attacks the United States of America and gets away with it. 


The citizens and community of Carmel have done well to recognize the importance of coming together to ease our community and national sorrow and to keep the memory of September 11 vivid until its recurrence has become an impossibility.  What makes a nation is the accumulating set of memories it carries within its history.  When these are lost the nation ceases to be what it was and becomes something else.  By keeping the memory of that day alive it reminds us as Americans that what we aspire to be is what colors our character.  And it is in our striving, not just in our succeeding, which ennobles us.  And as has been said, the only true defeat lies in letting defeat win.  I congratulate you on your wonderful work on behalf of our community, our state and our nation.  You have demonstrated by your initiative, your commitment and your hearts that democracy is not only measured by the quality of its leaders but by its citizens meeting everyday challenges extraordinarily well.  Sincerely, Leon P. Panetta"

Lisa DeMarchi then introduced
 the two winners of the
Kiwanis 911 Memorial Writing Contest. 




Sarah Carroll
 shared her work entitled 
Never Forget 


"These words are not from someone who lost a love one on 911.  I cannot feel what others have felt.  Cry the tears that others have cried or the pain and sadness of others.  My loss of the attacks is that of a day - the day of celebration, the day of happiness, the day when my grandmother was born.  What was once a day of joy is now a day of grief.  Each year on September 11th I am torn from between the celebration of her birthday and the sadness of 3,000 deaths.  Every year it will be like this. Every year it will be a struggle. These words are my own. A mere glimpse into the impact 12 years later, 3,000 miles away from where devastation struck.  

People everywhere of every race and age struggle with me asking why did this happen?  What was the reason?  A punishment? A sign?  Only God knows.  Whatever the reason, it was not good enough.  No person should have had to die.  No family should have had to grieve.  No one should have had to risk their lives.  But they did and now we can only hope.  Hope for a better future.  For the pain to get better.  For the tears to dry.  

We as a nation must stand tall and proud for our country.  But we as a community must only hope.  Though small Carmel is brave, remembering the tragedy that has changed the lives of millions, courageous and strong we stand.  A piece of ground zero now lives with us and in our hearts forever.  Unmovable by the hatred and cruelty of others.  This can only help us to heal with the love in our hearts and the hope in our souls.  The passing of World Trade Center steel from the hands of fearless fire fighters to our small community reminds us of how we are all connected through September 11.  Never forget what happened.  Forgetting does not heal.  Remembering does.  It is important to remember.  For America will never again be the same as it once was 12 years ago.  To all who have been impacted by 911 I thank you for standing strong." (Never Forget, Sarah Carroll)     


Caitlin Chappel
recited her poem
I Did Not Know You 


"I did not know you.  You could have been a firefighter, you could have been an accountant, but I do not know. 

I did not know you.  You could have had a girl friend, you could have had a boy friend, you could have had a wife, but I do not know. 

I did not know you.  You could have had a family, you could have had kids, you could have lived with friends, or you could have lived alone, but I do not know. 

I did not know you.  You did not know me, and we will never meet. 




I did not know a lot about you, but I know you now,  I know you were important. I know you were loved. I know you were scared. I know you will be missed.  And most importantly I know that you will never be forgotten.  

I did not know you.  But I know you now.  We all know you now.  We all miss you.  And we promise to always remember." (I Did Not Know YouCaitlin Chappel)


Next Fire Chief of the City of Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Sand City and military installations on the Monterey Peninsula, Gaudenz Panholzer reminded us why we were here today. 


 "We are here today not only to honor the 343 firefighters who lost their lives in New York 12 years ago and also the other first responders who also lost their lives, but also the thousands of Americans who lost their lives that day...I think it is important that we recognize that we are also here to celebrate...what it means to be an American.  What it means to be in this great country of ours.  It is the American way to reach out and help each other in times of need.  And that is exactly what happened in New York 12 years ago when such disaster struck."  

Chief Panholzer proudly introduced the five firefighters from the Monterey Fire Fighters Association who traveled from Carmel, New York to Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA with the World Trade Center Steel.  They are: Assistant Chief Jim Courtney, Danny Givvin, Bob Wilkins, Justin Cooper, and Ken Hutchinson. 


Assistant Fire Chief Courtney spoke on behalf of the other four saying, "I want to first say thank you to CarrieAnn, for if it wasn't for CarrieAnn, this would not be here today. 


She allowed us to go on a journey that I will never forget.  I know they (the other firefighters) will never forget, our wives will never forget...This is a historic day for all American's, that we can not forget and we have to take this on to our children.  But for these gentlemen here to move this steel here all the way from New York to come all the way across the United States, to stop in places, to get to experience some of the emotions...I just want to thank the four of you guys for joining me in that journey.  It was awesome..."


Our next speaker, Bert Upson, really brought reality to this ceremony.  In his book, On A Clear Day, 9/11- An Eyewitness Account, he wrote about how he was on the 78th floor of the South Tower at 8:40 preparing for a seminar September 11, 2001, when 15 minutes later, American Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower between floors 93 and 99.  He and a colleague immediately decided to evacuate the building and took the express elevator from the 78th floor, reaching the mezzanine just a few minutes before United Flight 175 hit the South Tower between floors 78 and 87.   


Choking back tears, Bert said, "We lost four people of 12 (colleagues) that day.  I can still see them.  I still pray for them.  I can still hear the people trying to get on the elevator that took me to safety.  My day began as a nightmare.  A surrealistic experience that will live with me forever.  Walking up the street here (in Carmel) I got choked up.  Walking by the fire department, I haven't seen so many firefighters since 911.  But they look a lot different.  Then I saw the flag,

I said, how grateful I am to be an American....All of us were forever marked by the obscenity of that day.  It wasn't the same as the focused furry of December 7, 1941, or the sadness of November 22, 1963, it was a catastrophic event, with the immediate world wide repercussions still felt today.  The world shared America's grief.  911 is not likely to be dismissed nor should it be forgotten.  The memory needs to be kept alive. That's why we're here.  We must unite as a family to say to that group of fanatical cowards, stop, go away, you will not and cannot destroy our values, our democratic way of life.  We will resit you and fight you until you are gone.  Thank you.  God bless you."  



CarrieAnn rounded out the speeches with her words, "I have so few words left to say that have not already been shared with you today. 


I have been honored to work with our local firefighters, their unions, their presidents, their chiefs, assistant chiefs, and in the community - the outpouring of over 20 letters and certificates from Governor's from across the United States congratulating those volunteers for what we have done and achieved here today - one of them I would like to read to you because he pretty much just says what I say and feel in my heart." 


"Dear Friends:  As governor of Nebraska I am pleased to offer congratulations to the citizens and community of Carmel California as you gather on this notable day. Your efforts and resolve to remember the importance of 911 are important.  Having transported a piece of steel from the Twin Towers from the attack on American soil on September 11, 2001 from New York to California is a significant achievement.  The journey of a single piece of steel with such deep and profound history and meaning throughout our many states is a reminder that the attack on 911 was an attack on all America.  However, what our enemies fail to understand is that American's are a special group of people.  When we are tested and tried, we pull together as communities, as states, and as a nation.  Ceremonies and efforts such as this stand as a reminder that the United States of America stands just that, united.  We stand up to preserve our freedom and secure them for future generations.  It is the acknowledgement seen here today of those lives lost on 911 and the pain of a continuing healing nation that should remind us all of how blessed we are to be American's.  That is why as friends, as neighbors, Nebraskans and Americans we will continue to stand in the name of freedom, liberty as one nation,  May our many efforts be forever remembered.  Congratulations on this accomplishment. Signed David Heineman, Governor of Nebraska."  

As Salinas police officer
 played Amazing Grace
 on the bagpipes,



  the five firefighters
 who had traveled
 so many miles

 with the 911 Memorial steel,
  placed it  

 on its final resting place.


The two firefighters above, Ken "Hand" Hutchinson (left) and Danny "Knuckles" Givvin (right) were used as models for The American Spirit sculpture by J. Harrison Smith shown below.  In the sculpture, the hand above is modeled after Ken, but when he had to leave on a call, Danny stepped in.  Smith patterned the knuckles in the hand after Danny's. 

After speaking with the artist, it was apparent that Chief Panholzer had summed up perfectly exactly what Mr. Smith portrays in his sculpture, The American Spirit.  "It is the American way to reach out and help each other in times of need.  And that is exactly what happened in New York 12 years ago when such disaster struck."  


It is my prayer for all who walk through Devendorf Park "to have a personal and private resolve and remembrance," and take a second out of your day to say a prayer for those memorialized on our various memorials; World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam and now 911.  Let us never forget.  


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Credits
*Photo taken at the "Resolve & Remembrance exhibition at Carmel Plaza 9/11/13
First video by Carmel 911 Resolve and Remembrance
All other photos and video by L. A. Momboisse www.carmebytheseaca.blogspot.com