Created as a place of remembrance and reflection, Hermosa Beach’s was rededicated Thursday.
And as dozens of residents gathered at the memorial site, a new piece of art was on display—steel taken from the ruins of the World Trade Center held between two cement pillars.
The steel was given to the in memory of the tragedy and in wake of the upcoming 10th anniversary of 9/11, which is Sunday.
Community leaders and emergency responders rededicated the bench and showcased the new World Trade Center memorial structure.
"This memorial park truly is a beautiful place for reflection. It's a place where we can reflect [on] the courage of those who died, and the many sacrifices that have been made since 9/11 in regards to protecting our freedoms that we enjoy as Americans," said Air Force Lt. Colonel Francisco "Paco" Hamm to the crowd.
Ten years ago, Hamm helped organize the first press conference that the world saw from former President George W. Bush after the twin towers fell. He and others Thursday agreed that the 9/11 memorial in Hermosa Beach should be a place of reflection.
"The bench is a reminder that we've got lots of people—police, firemen and military—that get up every morning and put their lives on the line for us. This is a great place to sit and reflect on the cost of what they are willing to do," said Rev. Mike Olsen of St. Cross by-the-Sea, who helped organize Thursday’s ceremony.
Dyan Martins, a flight attendant from neighboring Manhattan Beach told Patch that she remembered the last year, and it was beautiful—"it’s wonderful to see so many people here," Martins said about Thursday’s ceremony.
"We lost our co-workers and friends and I wanted to remember them, our first heroes in the air," Martins said. "It just means a lot to us that everyone is still remembering what a terrible day that was for us."
Hermosa Beach resident Henry Booker also said that he remembered when the 9/11 victims memorial bench was first installed in town, and he now walks by it "almost everyday."
"I've seen it from the time when it was put up here at first, even before they put all of the buttons and all of the finishing touches on it. I think it's a very significant and beautiful contribution to the memory," Booker said.
The bench features 2,997 buttons in memory of the people who died Sept. 11, 2001. It was built on Pier Avenue between Valley Drive and Ardmore Avenue with the help of the City Council and the Kiwanis Builders Club at Hermosa Valley School.
"Last time we were together here as a community, it was kind of sad. And this [time it] is joyful, that we've come together and been able to do this," said Hermosa Beach Police Department Chaplain .
Rev. Rachel Nyback of St. Cross by-the-sea Episcopal Church said a closing prayer at the end of the rededication ceremony.
"Unite us in bonds of love, and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on Earth, that in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony and peace," she said.