Pepperdine annually places an American flag for the almost 3,000 people who were killed on the 911. The view is breathtaking, but then I wondered why Pacific Palisades couldn’t have its own memorial.
Auxiliary President in 2021, I went to Marge Gold, who was the president of the Village Green Board and asked if we could place flags on the little park in the middle of town.
She received permission from the board and the first year, we placed 300 flags. One representing 100 victims.
This year, under auxiliary President Ruth Kahn, the auxiliary placed nearly 600 flags—one representing each five victims.
On Friday, we worked steadily on the Green for several hours. To place the flags, one first has to pound a stake in the ground, pull it out and then put the flag in the hole.
As I worked with six other people, it became meditative to pound the ground and place a flag. I wondered if the souls of those who were killed knew we were honoring them 3,000 miles away.
Did they know I was praying for them and their families in this beautiful little spot? Did they know I was thinking about them? That I hoped that by seeing the flags, other people in town would think about them, too, and pray for the families.
Then I wondered, could I be as brave as those people on the United Flight that fought the hijackers? Would I, could I be brave enough not to sit by, and to try and face evil, even though I knew it would be a certain death.
Would I be as brave as the 340 firefighters and 72 law enforcement officials and walk into one of the towers of the World Trade Center, even as it was collapsing? Would I walk up – or would I run and hide – would I go the other direction?
I would like to think I would be brave, that I would stand up to evil and wrong.
But I don’t know. It is so much easier not to do anything and hope that it will all be okay.
9/11 was not okay. Someday you might be called to do the right thing, even if it means death. What will you do?