As Sunday marks the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Orange County Fire Authority firefighter Scott Townley thinks he has outdone himself with his latest tribute to the victims of 9/11 on display outside his home in Fullerton.
“I have 3,042 pictures of the victims who died on 9/11 with their name and age on them,” Townley said. “It’s so powerful I don’t even like going into the octagon, and I built the wall.”
The 4-foot-high and 8-foot-wide structure is in his driveway, the last bit of real estate he has to pay tribute to the victims.
“The yard looks pretty much the same with the exception to the driveway,” he said.
This project took more effort than any other he has done in the 15 years since the attacks.
“It was extremely labor intensive,” Townley said. “The amount of man hours to build, construct and design that wall was more than any of the other projects I’ve taken on.”
Townley used various means to track down photos of the victims online and then he had Fullerton Photography print them out for him. He was able to find images of all but about 100 of the victims, who are represented with an image of a lighted candle, Townley said.
“I can’t explain” the feeling he had walking into it when it was completed, Townley said. “Until you actually walk into that octagon under the awning it just blows you away. It’s unbelievable.”
Townley’s tribute also includes a front yard full of flags representing all of the victims.
The firefighter’s memorial started with a single, hand-made sign and about 20 flags in 2001.
Now it includes 343 crosses for the firefighters who died helping victims in the attacks, 74 crosses for the Port Authority officers and police officers who died in New York City, and an 8-foot tall wooden cross that bears the names of the victims who were killed in the attacks on the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and the downed plane in Pennsylvania.
Townley’s display also represents the first responders who died of cancer and other diseases they contracted while digging through Ground Zero’s rubble and the names of each service men and women who died in the war on terrorism.
“Thank God there haven’t been a lot of names this year,” Townley said.
The 15th anniversary of the attacks will also be marked in Orange County on Sunday by:
–The 9/11 Patriot Ride, a group of motorcycle enthusiasts paying tribute to the firefighters killed in the attacks. The ride starts at the Huntington Beach Harley Davidson store at 10 a.m. at 15080 Goldenwest Circle in Westminster.
–Orange County Fire Authority firefighters will hold their annual “Day of Remembrance” ceremony at their headquarters at 1 Fire Authority Road in Irvine as well as all of the other stations throughout the county.
–The Pretend City Museum, 29 Hubble, in Irvine, will hold a Day of Remembrance as well geared toward children.
–The Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda will hold its annual ceremony at noon with remarks from Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Daniel O’Donohue, Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and Orange County Fire Authority Chief Jeff Bowman.
–Anaheim firefighters will hold a tribute at City National Grove of Anaheim with local authorities making remarks and representatives from various nonprofits available to help residents who would like to volunteer on the National Day of Service and Remembrance.
–Chiara D’Odorico will perform a recital on piano of the debut of “In Memoriam,” a composition by Irvine Valley College professor Daniel Luzko, who pays tribute to the 9/11 victims. The performance will be at the Irvine Valley College Performing Arts Center in Irvine.
—City News Service