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9/11 victims recalled at Grand Park event in L.A.


Los Angeles politicians gathered with veterans and military personnel Tuesday for a ceremony marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and the opening of a new portion of downtown's Grand Park.

The ceremony, which took place in the park's redesigned flag garden, featured as its guest of honor Bea Cohen, 103, the oldest living female veteran of World War II.

"This reconfigured Community Terrace and Flag Garden pays tribute to our American history and heroes," Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina said in a speech before a crowd of about 100. "The flags are a perfect symbol of our collective memory of the first responders as well as the civilian victims of the Sept. 11th attacks."

Molina said the final portion of the 12-acre park -- a large event lawn adjacent to City Hall -- would open Oct. 6. "Grand Park is now a destination," she added.

Molina was joined on stage by Los Angeles City Councilwoman Jan Perry, county sheriff and fire department officials, and the Air National Guard Band of the Southwest.

After Molina's speech, veterans and military members were called forward to raise the 19 flags at the park.

Cohen clutched a black POW/MIA flag close to her face before raising it with the assistance of Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Jason Young. In a brief interview after the event, she shared her thoughts on the park.

"Outstanding, beautiful, what a wonderful place," she said. "Can you imagine bringing your kids here?"


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--Sam Allen in Downtown L.A.

Photo: Bea Cohen at Grand Park event. Credit: Sam Allen / Los Angeles Times

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