Manhattan Beach residents gather to remember Sept. 11
Lucia La Rossa Ames was an Italian attorney working for the North Atlantic Treaty Association at the U.S. Navy base in Naples, Italy, on September 11, 2001.
“I knew something bad had happened because our base commander always smiled when he greeted me and he wasn’t smiling. He told me the base needed to be evacuated. On that day we were all Americans,” La Rossa Ames recalled. She became a Manhattan Beach resident after marrying U.S. Navy Lt. Greg Ames, whom she met at the base.
The Ameses were among two dozen Manhattan Beach residents, all wearing masks and socially distancing, who defied the Los Angeles County ban on large public gatherings to meet Friday morning at the 9-11 Memorial in front of the Manhattan Beach Police and Fire department. Councilwoman Suzanne Hadley was the only city official to attend the event. The city hosts an annual 9-11 remembrance, but canceled this year’s event because of the pandemic.
Prior to Friday morning’s ceremony, interim Manhattan Beach Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe thanked the group.
“You are a reminder of how tight knit the community is. Our public safety officers appreciate your support,” Knabe said. As he spoke, police and firefighters, who were not allowed to attend the ceremony, watched the memorial service from the station’s second floor window.
Knabe also thanked the group for the $1,000 donation from the Thank you MBPD/MBFD sign fundraising drive. The group donated another $1,000 to the Manhattan Police Department.
Friday morning’s remembrance was organized by Lee Phillips, M.D., and Judy Pang, who also helped organize the sign fundraiser.
Resident Jaime Cutler told the gathering she was living near the World Trade Center when it was attacked.
“I wasn’t hurt, so about 4 p.m. friends and I walked to a makeshift rescue center and offered to help. They gave us a list of things they needed,” she said, holding up the handwritten list she was given.
Among the items were masks, hard hats, neosporin, socks, work boots, ropes, knives, cigarettes, and flashlights w/batteries.
“We walked all the way to the East Side before we found a Korean grocer, who was closed but opened his door and bagged up everything he had for us. The shelter was where the firefighters rested. We worked there for 18 hours,” Cutler said.
The ceremony ended with a playing of Taps.
Manhattan Beach’s 9-11 memorial incorporates two 15-foot lengths of steel i-beams from the World Trade Center. They were given to the city in appreciation for the services of Manhattan Beach Fire Captains Tim O’Brien and Jeff Sanders, who went to New York in the aftermath of the attack to help in the recovery efforts. The memorial was dedicated on Sept. 11, 2007. ER
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