Trinity Classical Academy hosts 11th annual ‘9/11 Never Forget Memorial Ceremony’

Young Americans for Freedom’s “9/11 Never Forget Project” sign among American flags placed for the lives lost due to the events of 9/11 in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
Young Americans for Freedom’s “9/11 Never Forget Project” sign among American flags placed for the lives lost due to the events of 9/11 in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Rylee Holwager/The Signal.
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Trinity Classical Academy hosted its 11th annual “9/11 Never Forget Memorial Ceremony” at the academy on Friday morning to honor those who lost their lives during and after the 9/11 tragedy.  

Among the invited special guests in attendance were Rep. Mike Garcia, R-Santa Clarita, Jason Gibbs, mayor pro tem of Santa Clarita, Joe Messina, president of the William S. Hart Union High School District governing board, and Matt Godsoe, representing Assemblywoman Suzette Martinez Valladares, R-Santa Clarita. 

Representing each life lost in the 9/11 attacks, 3,005 American flags were placed across the front of Trinity, mainly circulating around the Honor Court.  

Young Americans for Freedom officers plant American Flags in the Honor Grove at Trinity Classical Academy to represent each life lost due to the events of 9/11 in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
Young Americans for Freedom officers plant American Flags in the Honor Grove at Trinity Classical Academy to represent each life lost due to the events of 9/11 in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Rylee Holwager/The Signal.

“America has lost almost 7,000 men and women during the last 21 years, nearly 2,500 military and 4,000 CIA contractors, aid workers and journalists,” said one of the student speakers from Young Americans for Freedom, which organized the event. “These 3,005 flags are placed here to remember and never forget each life loss on Sept. 11, 2001.” 

In 2012, Grant Wolf started the Young Americans for Freedom club at Trinity as a chapter extension of the Young America’s Foundation.  

Grant Wolf’s father, Greg Wolf, parent sponsor of the club, opened the ceremony with prayer, then introduced junior Shyler Sweitzer to sing the national anthem.  

YAF club officers alternated to lead the memorial. The YAF club officers included: Kendall Lescher (senior, co-chairman), Olivia Leathers (senior, co-chairman), Elijah Torres (junior, vice chair), Anna Leathers (senior, secretary), Angelika Gulin (junior, tabling coordinator), Lily Caddow (senior, special events/social media and outreach team member), Daisy Sachoff (senior, special events/social media and outreach team member) and Bob Qiuyang Ze (senior, special events/social media and outreach team member).  

The speakers began their speeches by recalling the events of 9/11, even being so detailed as to include time stamps of every moment.  

“Nearly 3,000 souls were taken from this Earth that day. Families were forever changed, America was changed,” said one of the YAF speakers.  

“It’s important for us not to forget individual lives,” said Kathy Wolf, parent sponsor of YAF. “It represents a life, it represents a family.” 

Local first responders at Trinity Classical Academy's 9/11 Never Forget Memorial Ceremony in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
Local first responders at Trinity Classical Academy’s 9/11 Never Forget Memorial Ceremony in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Rylee Holwager/The Signal.

Local heroes including first responders, active and retired military, veterans, firefighters, police and medical personnel were all also honored at the memorial for their past and current service.  

Rich Barker and Dan Bradley, Vietnam veterans, honored at Trinity Classical Academy's 9/11 Never Forget Memorial Ceremony in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
Rick Barker and Dan Bradley, Vietnam veterans, honored at Trinity Classical Academy’s 9/11 Never Forget Memorial Ceremony in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Rylee Holwager/The Signal.

Local Vietnam veterans Rick Barker and Dan Bradley received special recognition for their service.  

All honorees were awarded with a copy of the U.S. Constitution and an American flag pin.  

Anna Leathers hands veterans a copy of the U.S. Constitution and an American flag pin to honor their service in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022.
Anna Leathers hands veterans a copy of the U.S. Constitution and an American flag pin to honor their service in Valencia, Calif. On Friday, Sept. 9, 2022. Rylee Holwager/The Signal.

Following these honors, those in attendance were asked to take a “moment of reflection” as senior Aiden Leigh played Taps.  

The concluding YAF speaker was Anna Leathers, who read off the names of all the military alumni of Trinity.  

Leathers said she has been a part of YAF since she was a freshman because there are veterans within her family. 

“I was extremely honored,” said Leathers.  

The memorial was concluded by Greg Wolf in a closing prayer.  

“We thank you (Lord) for the daily gift of life and the inspiration provided by the irrefutable fact that in the darkest moments of our nation’s history, you have been faithful to sustain us,” said Wolf. “Out of winter, you birthed spring. Out of ashes, a national tragedy, you bring renewal and resolve.” 

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