California 9/11 Memorial in Clovis commemorates tragic day
Debbie Grimm made an emotional first visit to the California 9/11 Memorial in Clovis on Wednesday during the 18th annual remembrance service for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
Grimm, a retired U.S. Navy commander, was a lieutenant commander working in the Pentagon in 2001. She was giving a tour in the building to a group she considers her “second family” on Sept. 11.
“We had decided to turn left instead of go right, and had we had gone right, our lives would be more changed than they are today,” said Grimm, who now lives in Clovis with her husband, Fresno police Sgt. Ron Grimm.
Debbie Grimm said that after the attack, she desperately tried to contact her mother who lived in Texas, but couldn’t with cell service knocked out. Likewise, Grimm said, her mother was trying to reach her daughter and feared the worst. When they finally connected hours later, “We just cried and cried,” Grimm said.
The annual service at the West Coast’s largest 9/11 memorial is one of many around the central San Joaquin Valley and around the nation.
At Fresno State, national and state flags are at half-staff on Sept. 11 in honor of Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance, to remember and honor the 2,996 people killed and over 6,000 injured in the 9/11 attacks including two alumni.
Navy Lt. Col. Otis Vincent Tolbert Jr, a former Bulldogs football player, was killed when American Airlines Flight 77 was crashed into the Pentagon, where he was working. Tolbert was from Lemoore.
Todd Beamer died when United Airlines Flight 93 that was being steered toward Washington, D.C., crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after its passengers, led by Beamer and his now famous “Let’s Roll” battle cry, tried to overwhelm the hijackers.