At the forthcoming Tournament of Roses parade, one float will have the power to evoke nostalgia, sadness, strength and pride.
This one float will affect all those in attendance as it symbolizes an event that rattled the entire United States of America: the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001.
Organized by Santa Clarita residents, through the Benefit and Welfare Association and the Tribute Float Committee, the grandiose tribute will embody the theme, “Remember, Reflect, and Renew.”
On Wednesday, Jerry Thomsen, local L.A. Country firefighter and President of the B and W Association, welcomed all those in attendance at County Fire Station 126 in Santa Clarita for the first public viewing of the float’s design.
A gigantic and ornate structure consisting of three platforms, the float will feature multi-colored floral graphs, a pentagon (representing the government building) serving as the centerpiece, flags representing Flight 93 (the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania), and an actual fire hydrant found in the rubble of the Twin Towers in New York City.
Together with his wife Merrie, Thomsen has monitored the float’s progress from the beginning, all to pay tribute to the first responders, firefighters and individuals who risked their lives during the tragedy.
“We promised as a nation that we would never forget,” Thomsen told the small crowd, “and (this float) is a way to renew our promise to those that we lost.”
Santa Clarita Mayor Laurene Weste thanked the firefighters and the committee for taking the initiative to organize the float.
“I commend them for their diligence in bringing this parade float tribute to reality,” she said.
Assemblyman Cameron Smyth said he wasn’t surprised that Santa Clarita residents took up the task.
“I know it’s just (the work) or two Americans. But they’re two Santa Clarita residents,” he said. “Those are people from my district. That’s what makes me so proud.”
As a way of making the float an effort of all Americans, the Thomsens are asking for $5 donations for the vials of water holding each flower. The vials can be customized with the donor’s name and message.