Thousands filtered into Northpark Community Church Sunday for the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The sanctuary overflowed with people who made it a point to pay tribute to Santa Clarita’s fallen soldiers.
The lives of those soldiers lost to the attacks on 9/11 were honored through the tears and words that left Northpark’s sanctuary in an aura of silence.
During this time, Santa Clarita Valley Gold Star families were welcomed on stage where they paid homage to the lives of their loved ones in the giving of a single red rose.
Northpark’s pastor Dave White cordially invited many speakers, such as City Councilmember Bob Kellar and Mayor Pro-Tem Laurie Ender, who shared their words of wisdom with the crowds. However, it was the Slocum family whose loss remained the inspiration for Northpark’s tribute to Santa Clarita’s fallen soldiers.
It was the loss of 18 year-old Ricky Slocum in 2004 that awakened Northpark’s desire to commemorate the fallen soldiers that once dwelled within the very hills of the Santa Clarita Valley.
Northpark’s new addition to the church’s outer courtyard has been transformed into an illustration of great thanks. Known as The Honor Court, it was Northpark’s Pastor Dave White who dedicated such a site to the heroes of, not only the Santa Clarita Valley, but also those all around who gave their life for the liberty of millions they never knew.
As it grew dark, the crowds were led to the churches outer quad where red and white paved stones painted the curves of the American flag atop the asphalt. It was the names of service men, women and First Responders, both living and dead, whose labels were forever inscribed within the individual stones. However, the golden glazed stars engraved along the colors of red and white are what remain the center piece of such an awe-inspiring work of art. Imprinted within the eleven stars are the names of each Santa Clarita soldier whose life was taken; Ricky Slocum’s name now lays within Gold and atop the grounds of a church that loved him and his fellow soldiers dearly.
As the crowds encircled the site, candles were passed around, lit, and held high in the air as the crowds sang along to The Star Spangled Banner. Veterans of past wars were also present. Lined in a tight row, with their guns held high, they fired bullets into the air in a salute to the their fellow soldiers.The ribbon to the Honor Court was then cut by the Slocum family and opened up to the City as an official expanse of honor and remembrance of those people who sacrificed their lives for ours. In an interview with Pastor Dave White he shared his last thoughts on the evening, he stated, “What I loved seeing tonight was the gold star families being surrounded by the community and feeling love, that is what the community is all about.”