September 11, 2001. We all remember exactly where we were that fateful day.
Five Cities community members gathered in Grover Beach Tuesday evening for a memorial ceremony, paying tribute to first responders, victims and their families.
“I was in Santa Maria, there was a Winston Tire Store on Broadway. I was getting tires, watching this happen on a grainy black and white tv and was so shocked that when my car was ready, I drove home without my wallet,” recounts Steve Lieberman, Five Cities Fire Chief.
“I remember exactly where I was,” said Brandy Wilkins. The Grover Beach mother recalls a very distinct phone call. “My grandfather said you need to wake up, some planes just crashed into a building,” she said.
“My daughter or someone yelled, look at the television and I remember turning and the horror and I remember sitting on my sofa,” said John Shoals, Mayor of Grover Beach.
Through the reflection and remembrance, Chief Lieberman has a call to action for the community.
“This huge tragedy brought us all together in a really interesting and uncanny way and I feel like we really need to remind ourselves, especially now, that the divisiveness, whether it’s in the media or politics, or even socially, we’re not talking or not leaning on each other like we used to,” said Chief Lieberman.
The pledge of unity also includes making sure a younger generation understands where we’ve been and where we can go from here.
“They really are our legacy and we want to make sure that they are aware that there has been sacrifices made, bad things happen but people rise above that,” said Shoals.
Fighting back tears, Wilkins says she was honest with her daughter Isabella about the terror attack.
Although the horror of 9/11 is not easily grasped by a seven-year-old, it’s a conversation this mother is committed to having.
“I’m really hoping that one day soon, very soon, I’ll be able to take her to New York and let her see the memorial,” said Wilkins.