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Remembering 9-11: A penny for their thoughts

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Remembering 9-11: A penny for their thoughts

From left Isabella, Victoria and Cesar Huamani hold up the pennies at the 9/11 event hosted by the Manteca Patriots, symbolizing the lives lost on that fateful day of 12 years ago.

VINCE REMBULAT / The Bulletin/


POSTED September 12, 2013 10:41 p.m.

Don Higgins remembered the fateful day of Sept. 11, 2001 as if it were yesterday.

He’s the longtime chaplain of the Tracy Police Department. He was the featured speaker at Thursday night’s Solemn Remembrance program hosted by the Manteca Patriots at Chez Shari.

“We were all over Ground Zero,” said Higgins, who was with the Critical Incident Stress Management program about a month after the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center.

“It was surreal,” he recalled. “It was very much like a war zone.

“Ground Zero was still a smoldering burning pile with the skeletal remains of the twin towers.”

As a member of the International Conference of Police Chaplains, Higgins, who was there in October and November 2001, was able to help out thanks to an arrangement by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

At this Manteca Patriots meeting, Bruce Lownsbery was announced as new chairman. Former chair David Marks is now the vice chair.

“It’s still fresh in my mind,” Marks said. “I was driving my kids and had my radio tuned on a comedy station – I heard what had happened but it took awhile to learn about the seriousness of 9 /11.”

Like many, he took time to hug his kids that night.

Lownsbery created a memorial for the meeting, using the exact clips from the 15-minute Remembrance slide show.

His friend, Darlene Harte, created the slide show in Dec. 2001 when the memories were still fresh.

Lownsbery added close to 3,000 pennies to the memorial to symbolize the number of lives lost that day. The two orange candles represented the fallen World Trade Center.

He also chronicled the memories of that day and the lives lost:

• 8:46 a.m., American Airlines Flight 11 slams into the north tower (1 TWC). Five hijackers and 87 innocent people on-board are killed on impact.

• 9:03, United Airlines Flight 175 slams into the south tower (2 TWC). Five hijacker and the 60 on-board perish.

• 9:37, American Airline Flight 77 crashes into the U.S. Pentagon. Five hijackers and 59 on-board are killed along with 120 other people.

• 9:59, 2 TWC, south tower, collapses in 10 seconds, killing about 600 workers and first responders.

• 10:03, United Airlines Flight 93 crashes in Shanksville, PA. Four hijackers and 40 on-board killed on impact.

• 10:28, 1 WTC north tower collapsed, killing some 1,400 workers and first responders.

Marks called this a day to remember.

“We get so busy with our lives that we tend to forget,” he said.

Georgina Huamani was among the guests for the special presentation. “I wanted to bring my kids here to better understand what happened that day,” she said.

Cesar, who is the oldest of her four children, was only a few months old that Sept. 11. Her other children, Isabella, Victoria and Anthony weren’t even born.

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