Through the Lens: Sept. 11 Slideshow
With tears in her eyes, guest speaker Deresa Teller from the Los Angeles Fire Department recounted the “shades of gray and black and white as the dust still settled” in New York on the days following Sept. 11, to a crowd gathered in Plaza Vaquero on Wednesday to honor those lost in the tragedies of Sept. 11, 2001.
“Everything looked like a “one piece of clothing. Everything was incinerated.”
Teller, a paramedic with the Los Angeles Fire Department, continued her emotional accounts at “ground zero,” explaining the recovery work she did with her specially trained search and rescue dogs, who lay next to her during her presentation to the crowd of students, faculty and staff members gathered for the commemoration.
Teller and her dogs, along with a medic recovery group, were in the only airplane recorded in the air on the evening of Sept. 11.
In her 10 days there, one of her dogs, Bella, uncovered 20 bodies in the rubble.
When asked to return to New York this year for a commemorative event, Teller explained that she did not attend for emotional reasons.
“The hundreds of people that would line up in the street and cheer you on,” she said, “and the family members that would come up to you giving you pictures of their family and saying ‘can you find this person'” was just too heartbreaking. That’s why I chose not to go back this year.”
Along with Teller, Associated Students President Antonino Patti, the Glendale Community College choir ensemble and Steve White, vice president of instruction, also shared their thoughts and feelings of the anniversary of the horrific event through speeches and song.
Beginning the event with the flag salute, Patti continued the ceremony with a compassionate speech that highlighted the heroic efforts of a New York firefighter who lost his life trying the lives of others in the towers.
However, Patti made it a point to not only remember the horrific tragedies of Sept. 11 but to emphasize the importance of taking this time as Americans to come together and support each other.
“Let us not look at 9/11 as a time to hate, but let us think of 9/11 as a time to remember, a time to unite,” said Patti.
Ending his speech with a moment of silence, the GCC choir broke that silence with a performance of the National Anthem.
President John Davitt was unable to attend the event but appointed White to say a few words on behalf of the administration.
“There is no excuse for the barbaric attacks of 9/11,” said White. “There is no excuse for terrorist attacks, but if we don’t acknowledge the root problem of these terrorist attacks we will not be able to prevent these acts from happening again.”
The GCC choir closed the ceremony with a performance of ?America the Beautiful.” Choir member Juliette Miller also performed the solo “You Will Never Walk Alone” during the ceremony.
“I thought [the event] was great,” said GCC student Kayleen Pruden. “It showed a lot of care; a lot of strength and unity.”
“[ASGCC] did a great job,” said Armen Mardirousi. “Everything was relevant. It’s nice to see students actually came out, even in the heat, to attend.”
“It was great to have such a big crowd,” said Patti. “[ASGCC] was honored to present this. It felt great to tell a story and mourn together.”
Patti’s biggest praise went to members of the ASGCC Activities Committee who coordinated the event.
The grass and stage area of the plaza, colorfully draped in red, white and blue, were draped with 24 special Sept. 11 commemoration American flags and banners with victims names hung from balconies and footbridges around the center of campus to accompany the ASGCC hosted event.