By Steve Marschke
The flags returned on Friday, thousands of them, fluttering in just about the same Southport location they have occupied on each anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
There’s one flag for each victim of that day – in the World Trade Center, at the Pentagon, and in a doomed United flight crashed into a field. And while the annual memorial is the brainchild of former West Sacramento resident John Vinson, the number of volunteers has grown.
West Sacramentans new and old have come to expect and look for the flag tribute at South River Road and Jefferson Boulevard in Southport every year about this time.
Monday afternoon, Vinson’s daughter Christina was sitting under a shade with Kevin Langford, staffing the display. Behind them, towards Jefferson Boulevard, was a firefighter’s uniform mounted on a chair, symbolizing the first responders who lost their lives responding to the World Trade Center disaster.
Christina Vinson said that the role of overseeing the flag memorial is a shared one.
“It’s lit up at night,” she said. “My two older brothers watch at night.”
Others sit in shifts, with a guestbook in front of them. Nearby was a shade tree and table manned by former West Sacramento City Clerk Helen Kanowsky, a volunteer looking for recruits to the fire department’s Community Emergency Response Team squad.
A few families began to arrive and stroll into the flag display.
One was the family of Cheng Saetern and Sharon Saechao.
“This is the first year we’ve lived in West Sacramento,” said Saetern.
“We wanted to remember all the people who died,” added Saechao.
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