Crescenta Valley community commemorates 9/11 with 50-vehicle motorcade

A Sept. 11 remembrance motorcade filled with law enforcement officials, first responders and classic American vehicles made its way through the Crescenta Valley Monday morning honoring the firefighters, police officers and others killed in the 2001 attacks.

The Crescenta Valley Remembrance Motorcade, now in its fifth year, was organized by members of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce and included 50 vehicles along a 12-mile route.

Each vehicle had a few names of the fallen first responders on their doors, according to Dwight Sityar, a chamber board member and event organizer.

Sityar said the inaugural motorcade in 2013 had only 22 vehicles and a much shorter route. This year, the event has grown to its feasible vehicle limit, he added.

“We noticed that after the 10th anniversary [of the attacks], not enough people were paying attention to the event anymore, especially those born after 9/11,” Sityar said. “We had to let the community know that Crescenta Valley will never forget.”

The motorcade started in the parking lot at the Ralphs store on Foothills Boulevard and weaved throughout the Crescenta Valley to its end point at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge. Major stops included six fire stations, local schools and the community’s Vietnam memorial.

At Monte Vista Elementary about 800 students were joined by administrators on the sidewalk to cheer the passing motorcade.

Suzanne Rissa, the school’s principal, said she repeated a message to students that morning that another principal had sent out years ago.

“My message was to just remember that Americans came together to help our firefighters, our police officers and soldiers regardless of religion, color, age — we came together as America,” she said.

Tina Maluccio watched the motorcade with her 10-year-old daughter, a fifth-grader at Monte Vista. Maluccio said her daughter doesn’t yet know the grim details of the 2001 terrorist attacks but she uses the remembrance to teach her about a day when Americans came together during a “terrible tragedy.”

“We try and make sure that she understands that it’s not a parade, it’s a remembrance of the people that lost their lives as well as those who survived but don’t have their friends or family anymore,” Maluccio said. “It’s a day to remember that we are united.”

Maluccio’s mother-in-law, Jean Maluccio, is one of the event’s organizers.

Later that evening, a tribute for the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was held at Bob Smith Toyota as part of the Crescenta Valley remembrance.

jeff.landa@latimes.com

Twitter: @JeffLanda

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