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Loomis rallied in wake of 9/11 tragedy

By: Joyia Emard Loomis News Editor
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The morning of Sept. 11, 2001 was cloudy and cool in Loomis. I was readying my two older children, then ages 7 and 12, for class at Franklin Elementary School, with my 2-year-old in tow. I turned on the television to get a weather report. My three kids crowded around to view. When the picture came into focus, it showed objects plummeting from a smoking high-rise building. We had no idea as to what we were looking at. The video footage froze us in place until the story had revealed itself. And then it was too late to undo what my children had seen and to shield them from those searing images. I called the school – yes, they would stay open, teachers and students would talk about the tragedy. The airports closed, many businesses shuttered. My husband was already at work in downtown Sacramento, but all government offices were closing, everyone was sent home. People were frozen with shock, horror, fear, uncertainty, and great sorrow. That night, before I went to bed, I shut and locked all the doors and windows. Our world had become a very unsafe and frightening place. I thought of all the innocent lives lost, those searching for loved ones, emergency responders – hundreds of them - gone. Demons had taken what amounted to flying busses filled with mothers, fathers, sisters, and brothers and turned them into weapons of mass destruction. I could not comprehend how human beings could be so cruel and evil. In the days and weeks that followed, the Loomis community rallied. Fundraisers of all sorts were organized. In its pages, The Loomis News saluted local groups and individuals for their donations. Eighth-graders from Franklin School had a car wash the Saturday following 9/11 and collected an amazing $4,600 for the American Red Cross efforts in New York City and Washington D.C. An article in the Loomis News read, “The spectre of national events this week will not dampen the spirits of the citizens of Loomis.” The Eggplant Festival would be held, with a patriotic theme, and at the Red Cross booth $13,000 was collected for 9/11 efforts. Raleys customers donated at the cash registers in Loomis and company-wide $130,000 was raised. The Loomis Fire Station started collecting for widows and families of firefighters who died at the World Trade Center, they received $7,384. The South Placer Heritage Foundation voted to send all proceeds from Cowboy Poetry to charities benefiting the families of 9/11 victims. They wrote a check for $10,000. The Loomis Basin Chamber of Commerce raised $3,082 for relief efforts; and Loomis Grammar School students raised money to buy teddy bears for the displaced students of Public School 89 that had been located at ground zero. From the Placer County Sheriff’s helicopter, an aerial photo of the students spelling out “We love P.S. 89” was taken to send with the teddies. Sept. 14, 2001 was declared a National Day of Remembrance and Franklin School held a special ceremony. My son Ben, a Boy Scout with Troop 12, led the flag-raising ceremony. Millie Scott, in a letter to the editor, wrote, “We cannot let them win. By not going on with our lives, they win. By not buying the things we need or frivolous fun things that add joy to your life, they win. If you stay home because you are afraid, they win.” I hope we remember the resilience of the American spirit and the great outpouring of support and patriotism we felt in the wake of the tragedy.