Yesterday was the 17th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attack that killed almost 3,000 people when hijackers carried out suicide attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, and the U.S. Pentagon office building in Washington, D.C. 9/11 was the single deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 first responders killed, respectively.
The attack inspired Hancock Park philanthropists and community activists Lyn MacEwen Cohen and Marc Cohen to create the First-In Fire Foundation to honor the memory of those first responders lost, and to support those currently serving our local communities. Remembrances were held all over the country yesterday. Locally, the Cohens and Wally Marks shared with the Buzz how they marked this special day.
Last evening at dusk we placed an American flag and remembrance notes at the 9/11 Memorial Stone in Hancock Park, adjacent to the Page Museum at the La Brea Tar Pits. Many of you joined us in the past as we unveiled this stone in the grove of trees planted nearby honoring firefighters, police officers and the passengers aboard American Flight 77 (including teachers and students bound for a field trip to Santa Cruz Island). This memorial also honors the crew of Flight 77 including pilot Charles Burlingame, brother of Miracle Mile resident and good friend Brad Burlingame. American Flight 77 crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11, the pilot valiantly fighting for his life, his crew’s lives and the lives of all aboard.
Every year, we would meet Brad here, at this memorial to remember Sept 11, his brother, all first responders including the 343 FDNY firefighters lost. With the vision of Sharyn Romano of LA/Hollywood Beautification Team, we joined together to plant one tree for everyone loved and lost that day in “United We Plant” ceremonies here in this grove of now mature, deeply rooted, thriving trees. The last time I saw Brad was on 9/11, a few years ago, right by this tree in this photograph. (attached)
Brad is now gone from us. He carried with him always the only thing found at the Pentagon crash site that belonged to his brother “Chic,” the plane’s pilot. It was a treasured prayer card from their mother’s funeral six months before 9/11. The edges were badly singed, but the card itself was intact. It read: “Don’t cry for me… I am not gone…” Some might say the card’s survival was a miracle.
It is our honor to remember those who perished on 9/11 on this 17th Anniversary with this memorial stone, this grove of lovely trees, this newly installed American flag by the Page Museum staff, our note left for his wife, Diane, and their two precious daughters, and with the public service each of us does in our own lives for our community, our City and our Country. May we never forget 9/11 and how we transform our deep sorrow into what is most touching and beautiful in the words “United We Stand.” As we join resolutely our hearts and our hands in strength, in kindness, in love for one another and in love for our County: We quietly remember.
God bless America,
Lyn, Wally and Marc.