September 11, 2008

Enduring Tributes

By Brenda Duran

LONG BEACH - Today as the country remembers Sept. 11, 2001, a multi-city motorcycle ride, concerts, vigils and ceremonies will commemorate lives lost and honor local police and firefighters.

The events mark the seventh anniversary of the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa. There were 2,974 people killed in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead.

The tragic events hit home when they claimed the lives of local residents Marie Pappalardo of Paramount, Maclovio "Joe" Lopez Jr. of Norwalk, Dorothy De Araujo of Naples, John Hofer of Bellflower and Christopher Newton of Long Beach.

As he does each year, Long Beach firefighter Gary Biggerstaff is remembering the victims of 9-11, particularly fire and police officials, in a motorcycle ride and mass ceremony that will feature speeches from two New York City firefighters, one retired New York City police officer and an FBI agent.

"This year will be more poignant than ever," said Biggerstaff of the ceremony that is planned to take place at his home, 257 Bennett Ave. in Belmont Shore.

Biggerstaff has placed 343 homemade crosses on the front lawn of his home. Each cross bears the name of a New York firefighter who died in the collapse of the World Trade Center's Twin Towers.

Biggerstaff's event, dubbed "The Ride" 2008, will kick off in Orange County at Cook's Corner, 19122 El Toro Road, at

3:15 p.m.

Motorcyclists will travel south to Pacific Coast Highway and then head north to Long Beach, where a mass ceremony and vigil will be held at Biggerstaff's home at 6 p.m.

Biggerstaff said he was inspired to organize the annual event after visiting the aftermath of 9-11 and reading notes many of the firefighters' children left near Ground Zero.

"I wanted people here to understand the impact it left behind on the families," said Biggerstaff.

The Long Beach Fire and Police departments will also host their annual 9-11 memorial ceremony adjacent to City Hall on Chestnut Street, south of Broadway.

The event begins at 6:30 a.m. and will feature a wreath placement, a bell ceremony and a bagpipe performance.

The Pacific Baptist Church and Pacific Baptist School in Long Beach at 3332 Magnolia Ave. are holding their annual memorial in a "God Bless America" service at 1 p.m. It honors those who lost their lives on 9-11 and those who are currently serving in the Middle East.

Bellflower is also hosting a civic memorial at 4 p.m. at Library Garden, at Flower Street and Civic Center Drive. Local officials will speak and there will be choral and bagpipe music.

In Cerritos, a patriotic concert and moment of silence are planned at Heritage Park, 18600 Bloomfield Ave. at 6:45 p.m.

Lakewood's event begins with a concert at 6 p.m. at Del Valle Park, Woodruff Avenue at Arbor Road. There will be an address by Lakewood Sheriff's Station Commander Christy Guyovich, "Amazing Grace," a candlelighting ceremony and a moment of silence. Local blood drives

The following is a list of locations in the area conducting blood drives. Long Beach

Long Beach City Place Farmer's Market Fourth Street and The Promenade Friday, Sept. 19, and Sept. 26: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Long Beach City College Liberal Arts Campus Nordic Lounge 4901 E. Carson St. Today, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Long Beach City College Pacific Coast Campus Student lounge 1305 E. Pacific Coast Highway Today, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Long Beach Marina Farmers Market Second Street and Marina Drive Saturday, Sept. 21, and Sept. 28, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Harbor Gateway

Harbor-UCLA Medical Center Blood Donor Center Room 1M5, 1000 W. Carson St. Monday through Friday all of September, from 9 p.m. to 4 p.m. Appointment preferred; call 310-222-2148 San Pedro

San Pedro Fire Stations

Through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

1414 West 25th St. 1601 S. Grand Ave. 1005 N. Gaffey St. Signal Hill

Costco (Bloodmobile) 2200 E. Willow St. Sept. 19, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

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