Los Angeles International Airport will light its pylons red, white and blue Friday evening and hold two moments of silence Saturday to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, some of whom were aboard three flights bound for LAX.
The LAX tributes are among a host of ceremonies, memorials and gatherings planned across the Southland to mark the solemn anniversary.
The airport’s pylons will glow in red, white and blue through Sunday morning. Airport officials said that over the last week, Los Angeles World Airports maintenance staff have cleaned and polished the airport’s 9/11 memorial “Recovering Equilibrium,” which is dedicated to the passengers and crew who died aboard the three flights bound for LAX and one bound for San Francisco. The memorial, which is a 15-foot reflective stainless steel dish — was designed by artists BJ Krivanek and Joel Breaux and installed at the base of the Theme Building in 2003. It is meant to symbolize the feelings of loss and the need for public dialogue about the terrorist attacks, according to the airport.
“While New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia bore the brunt of this horrific day two decades ago, Los Angeles was also deeply impacted by the loss of the passengers and crew on the three planes that were originally heading to LAX that morning,” said Justin Erbacci, CEO of Los Angeles World Airports, the city agency that manages LAX.
“We honor all of those who lost their lives and extend our thoughts to their families. The events of that day have shaped the evolution of aviation for 20 years, and we have never forgotten the victims or the lessons learned as we forged even stronger partnerships with law enforcement and the federal government to create the safest airports possible.”
A moment of silence will be held at 5:46 a.m. Saturday at security checkpoints, during which time the Transportation Security Administration will briefly stop screening passengers. The moment will commemorate the time that American Airlines Flight 11, which departed Boston Logan International Airport for LAX, hit the World Trade Center’s North Tower.
The second plane used in the attacks, which hit the World Trade Center’s South Tower, was United Airlines Flight 175. It departed from Boston en route to LAX and hit the South Tower at 6:03 a.m. Pacific time. The third flight bound for LAX, American Airlines Flight 77, departed from Washington Dulles International Airport, and hit the Pentagon at 6:37 a.m. California time.
A fourth flight, United Flight 93, was bound for San Francisco International Airport from Newark Liberty International Airport. The flight’s intended target remains a mystery but is believed to be either the U.S. Capitol or the White House. The airplane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania at 7:03 a.m. Pacific time.
A second moment of silence and a color guard ceremony will be held at LAX at 8:43 a.m. inside the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Federal Inspection Station at Tom Bradley International Airport.
In Malibu, meanwhile, nearly 3,000 flags will be waving on the campus of Pepperdine University in an annual tribute to those who died in the attacks. Additional flags will also be in place honoring each country that lost a citizen. The university will hold ceremonies beginning at 5:30 a.m., featuring moments of silence, wreath-layings and a screening of the film “United 93.”
Culver City’s police and fire departments will also hold a remembrance ceremony beginning shortly before 7 a.m. A moment of silence will be held at 6:59 a.m., marking the time the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed.
In downtown Los Angeles, thousands of volunteers will gather at the Convention Center to pack an estimated 200,000 meals for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank. The event is in recognition of 9/11 being designated a National Day of Service. Organizers of the event said similar events are being held in 10 cities, with more than 2.5 million meals being packed for distribution to people in need nationwide.
In Pasadena, members of the city fire and police departments will gather at the Tournament of Roses’ Tournament House for a sunrise flag ceremony. Organizers said a flag will be raised at sunrise and a moment of silence will be held, with the flag flying at half-staff until sundown.
The Los Angeles Fire Department opted to cancel its annual in-person memorial ceremonies at fire stations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, although it welcomed the public to visit its 9/11 Memorial Fountain in front of Fire Station 88 at 5101 N. Sepulveda Blvd. in Sherman Oaks at any time to pay respects. The LAFD will hold a virtual remembrance event at 7 p.m., accessible at lafdheroes.com.
The Beverly Hills Fire Department will hold a brief remembrance ceremony at its headquarters at 6:45 a.m. The city will hold a formal ceremony at its 9/11 Memorial Garden on Rexford Drive at 5:30 p.m., featuring a wreath-laying, bell-ringing, 21-gun salute and a flyover.
In North Hollywood, City Councilman Paul Krekorian is among those set to take part in an event sponsored by the Los Angeles Beautification team. The event will include a tree-planting and candle-lighting at North Hollywood Park, site of a plaque containing the names of Californians who died in the attacks.
City Councilman Paul Koretz will take part in a midday event at Los Angeles City Hall designed to serve as an educational event, teaching the significance of 9/11 to youth who weren’t alive when the attacks occurred.
In Orange County, the Richard Nixon Foundation will hold an 11 a.m. commemoration ceremony at the Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda. The event will be centered around 23 tons of wreckage from the World Trade Center. The wreckage will be brought to the library in a motorcade, escorted by the California Highway patrol, Orange County Sheriff’s Department and Orange County Fire Authority.
The Orange County Fire Authority, meanwhile, will hold a remembrance ceremony at its Regional Fire Operations and Training Center in Irvine. OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy is among those set to take part.