Kevin Cody

Manhattan Beach September 11 memorial service a reminder of need for eternal vigilance

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Manhattan Beach Police Department Lt. Ryan Small offers the closing prayer at the September 11 memorial service, joined by Chief Eve Irvine, Mayor David Lesser and Fire Chief Robert Espinosa. Photo by Kevin Cody

by Kevin Cody

Manhattan Beach Mayor David Lesser remembered his cousin, a trader with Cantor Fitzgerald. Lesser’s cousin was among the New York investment bank’s 658 employees who died during the September 11, 2001 attack on the World Trade Center.

Resident Dyan Martins, an American Airlines flight attendant for 30 years, remembered fellow crew members Ann Sweeney and Chuck Burlingame. Sweeney was a flight attendant on American Airlines Flight 11, flying from Boston to Los Angeles on September 11, 2001 when al-Qaeda hijackers crashed her jet into the North tower of the World Trade Center.

Burlingame, a former Navy pilot and a “big, strong guy,” Martins recalled, was captain of American Airlines Flight 77 on September 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda hijackers crashed his jet into the Pentagon.

Seemingly everyone who attended the Manhattan Beach 911 Memorial Service Monday morning felt a personal connection to 9/11. Contractor Scott Yanofsky, with help from Steve Olikes and Mark Bush, built the memorial outside the Police and Fire department, where the service was held. Fire Captain Tim O’Brien and retired firefighter Jeff Sanders went to New York in the aftermath of the attack to help in the recovery efforts. They returned with two 15-foot sections of steel i-beams from the Trade Center, which Manhattan Beach architect Pat Killen incorporated into the memorial’s design.

Councilwoman Amy Howorth had a first grade child at Robinson Elementary School on September 11, 2001. After the attacks, she recalled, then Robinson principal Nancy Doyle organized what has become an annual 9/11 memorial service at Robinson, known as America’s Assembly. The memorial is also held annually at Grand View School, where Doyle is now principal. 

Fire Chief Robert Espinosa reminded the attendees that 9/11 memorial services help prevent the passage of time from erasing memories of an event that must never be forgotten.

The services were closed with a prayer led by Manhattan Beach Police Lt. Ryan Small, the police department chaplain and pastor of the Greater New Jerusalem Baptist Church in Los Angeles.

“There are many faiths among us. Let us all thank the Lord for this opportunity to share our remembrances of the citizens, fire, police and military personnel who lost their lives in 911. We ask the Lord for peace over this land,” Lt. Small said. ER

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