On Sept. 11, 2001, the world appeared to shut down, transfixed on the atrocities committed by terrorists attempting to destroy the spirit and freedom of the United States. While we watched with sadness and horror at the loss of life, we also observed the tenacity with which the citizens of this country pulled together to save lives and restore a sense of security and pride.
The L.A. County Fair will honor the victims and heroes of Sept. 11 with a “Tribute to Freedom,” a permanent presentation at Fairplex. The tribute will be on display beginning Sept. 13 at the 2002 Fair. The exhibit will feature an angel from the A Community of Angels project.
“Our goal is to create a respectful place which serves not only to remember the tragic events of September 11, but also to inspire each visitor with the American ideal of freedom, the undeniable truth that we will never succumb to anyone who wishes to take our freedom away,” said Dale Coleman, vice president of sales, marketing and creative programming.
To show its appreciation for their hard work, the Fair Association has invited members of the New York City fire and police departments to participate in opening day events, including Thomas Woods, a lieutenant with the New York City Fire Department, Ladder Company No. 2 and New York City Port Authority police officer Steve Devino.
“We extended the invitation to let them know we care out here, 3,000 miles away. Since Sept. 11 we are all New Yorkers,” said Coleman. “We’re very honored that they’ve accepted.”
The special guests will participate in the Fair’s opening day ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. inside Yellow Gate and in the dedication ceremony of a “Tribute to Freedom” at 11:45 a.m. at the Lagoon. The ninth race at Fairplex Park on Sept. 13 will be named in the heroes’ honor and they will be the grand marshals of the Community Day parade on Pomona Day, which begins at 5:30 p.m.
The centerpiece of a “Tribute to Freedom” will be an angel sculpture, which belongs to the Millard Sheets Gallery Foundation, created by local artist Annmarie Socash. Socash adorned the angel with tiny pieces of colored glass as part of the A Community of Angels project. Following the tragic events of Sept. 11 Socash changed the design of the angel to reflect her sadness by including a tear flowing down the angel’s face into a pool of blue water located near his heart. The angel’s name was then changed from “Gavin Glass” to the “Angel of Tears and Hope.”
“Angel of Tears and Hope” will be placed upon a pentagon-shaped platform at the Lagoon, near the Administration buildings, with two 20-foot fountains soaring straight up on either side representing the Twin Towers. A plaque will sit in front of the angel engraved with a quote from John F. Kennedy’s Inaugural Address on Jan. 20, 1961 stating, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any har