September 20, 2002 - Orange County Weekly: Gaddi Vasquez speaks at Orange County remembrance of 911

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Headlines: Peace Corps Headlines - 2002: 09 September 2002 Peace Corps Headlines: September 20, 2002 - Orange County Weekly: Gaddi Vasquez speaks at Orange County remembrance of 911

By Admin1 (admin) on Monday, October 14, 2002 - 12:30 pm: Edit Post

Gaddi Vasquez speaks at Orange County remembrance of 911

Read and comment on this story from the Orange County Weekly on Gaddi Vasquez's appearance at an event in Orange County to commemorate the events of September 11 at:

How OC remembered Sept. 11*

* This link was active on the date it was posted. PCOL is not responsible for broken links which may have changed.

How OC remembered Sept. 11

by Anthony Pignataro

Touch the steel
Photo by OCW staff

Richard Nixon Library, Sept. 7, 11:15 a.m.

Several hundred people stand and sit by the Nixon Library parking lot in the blistering sun. Thirty-six U.S. flags in three sets of 12 are arrayed before them.

Some are firefighters. Some are Boy and Girl Scouts. And some are wearing shirts that say things such as "Raise a glass for duty and humanity" and "Support your local Soldiers for Jesus."

They’re in the parking lot, quietly waiting for a caravan of police and fire vehicles escorting two huge flatbed trucks. They’re quiet because a Nixon Library official asked for "a moment of silence" to "pause and reflect."

Preceded by Highway Patrol motorcycles and a black Cadillac Escalade limousine, the flatbeds carry World Trade Center scrap. The first hauls a New York hook-and-ladder fire truck wrecked in the WTC collapse; the second flatbed holds 18 tons of rusted scrap steel.

For a while, the only sound is camera shutters snapping. Then the speeches begin. The San Bernardino officials who brought the WTC junk to California for a future memorial speak first.

"Everywhere they went, crowds gathered," says disgraced, outgoing San Bernardino County District Attorney Dennis Stout, describing the scrap’s journey across the U.S. "People wanted to see and touch the steel."

The people in Yorba Linda were no different, but the officials keep speaking. Last up is Peace Corps boss and bankruptcy-era Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez. He notes the sweltering heat and promises to be brief, but isn’t.

"I didn’t know anyone on Flight 93," he says to a crowd of sweating, irritable people hungry for the touch of memorial steel. "But they are all heroes."

Only after Vasquez finishes are the people allowed near the wreckage. The fire truck has broken windows and a few flat tires. A torn and dirty American Flag is tied to its rooftop ladder.

People file slowly past the fire truck but linger around the beams. They reach up and touch them, then hold the pose while friends and relatives snap photos. Having already been viewed and touched by many people before today, the beams are covered with graffiti:

"We love America The Morrellos"

"Robert P. Long Ironworkers Local 433"

"God Bless The Wilkersons"

"Thank You! The Dill Family."

"How does our BOOT feel in your A** United America"

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