Although it has been twenty one years, the memory of the horror we all witnessed on that tragic September morning in 2001 remains fresh in our minds.
By Denise Menchaca
We could never have prepared ourselves for the destruction of the Twin Towers in New York City, Flight 93 crashing in Pennsylvania and Flight 77 crashing into the Pentagon. Nor were we ready to say goodbye to so many of our fellow American citizens who were also our mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, coworkers, and service people.
One of those victims included my husband’s sister, Dora Marie Menchaca. She was on Flight 77 traveling back home to Santa Monica after helping develop a new drug for prostate cancer. Instead, her flight crashed into the Pentagon at 9:37 am. She, like every other victim of this senseless act that will remain in America’s collective consciousness, was a beloved family member and friend who was a part of something bigger.
If she were here today, she would continue to be part of the fight to develop science-based medicines as an epidemiologist (earned her PhD from UCLA) during a time when our health is at more risk than ever. She was a fierce protector of her family and vulnerable populations in need of healthcare, as well as a supporter of women pursuing careers in science. Let us draw from her memory as inspiration to continue our fight against COVID-19 and to support each other in the process.
May we never forget all those who perished on September 11th.
The City of Rosemead invited Denise and her husband to share Dora’s life at their 9/11 Memorial Ceremony “Never Forgotten”.
“Reflect” is a public sculpture that incorporates a steel beam from the World Trade Center, which is currently on display at Rosemead’s City Hall Plaza. The sculpture of two hands fashioned from thousands of dove-like cutouts, carries a steel girder from the World Trade Center just as emergency personnel carried victims on September 11, 2001. A dove represents each victim. The sculpture was created by local artist Heath Satow.
Denise Menchaca is a Councilmember at the City of San Gabriel.
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