Clovis memorial holds largest tribute to 9/11 victims outside NYC

Thousands from the Central Valley gathered in Clovis to honor the lives lost.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- Twenty years after the United States was forever changed, the Valley's vow to never forget lives on.

The largest tribute to the victims of 9/11 outside of New York City met with an equally impressive showing of support by ground and air.

"I want people to never forget how fragile life is and how important it is for people to live every day that way," said retired New York City firefighter Andy Isolano at the ceremony.

In front of thousands at California's 9/11 memorial, he shared the moments he learned the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

Instead of going home after the end of his 20-hour shift working ladder 108 in Brooklyn, he and 11 others got on a spare engine drove to ground zero to see how they could help.

"By the time the smoke cleared I had lost 13 close friends, lost 343 fellow firefighters, and nearly 3,000 people were dead," he said.

Andy would spend the next two months digging at Ground Zero, trying to bring families closure, something he says he still hopes to find.

"This year it kinda came back... kinda full force for me," he said.

After living in the Central Valley for 16 years, the Isolanos moved to Florida.

Ahead of Saturday, instead of flying to New York to commemorate 20 years after the September 11th attacks, Andy came home to Clovis, arriving hours before anyone else to talk to his fallen comrades.

"The community shows me every year that they can't do enough for us, they know what weve been through," he said.

Reyna Muro's granddaughter, Ariel, is six years old. She accompanied her grandmother to the memorial on Saturday.

"She asks a lot of questions. We're taking a little tour, trying to talk to her about it," says Muro.

While the tragedy is still hard for the youngest attendees to comprehend, each piece of the monument illustrates the sacrifices made by first responders 20 years ago and the 2,977 lives we'll never forget.

Outside of New York, the Clovis memorial is the largest monument of its kind, and the plan is to see it grow. If you weren't able to make Saturday's tribute, visitors are welcome every day of the year.

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