Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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Dispatches from the Lucky Land of Lassen

Supervisor Gary Bridges with Archer and C.J. Hewitt at Sunday’s ceremony

By Jeremy Couso
Publisher, SusanvilleStuff
With photos by Marshel Couso

Good morning, kids! Welcome to column number three!

I am proud of this town for something. Eleven years ago, when the Susanville Fire Department started their annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony, I remember thinking that, despite the promise to ‘Never Forget’, that ceremonies like this often atrophy and wither away as time passes.

After all, ‘Never Forget’ is a tall order in a hurried world that has trouble remembering what happened last week. Yet in Susanville, perhaps because time moves a little slower here, the ceremony is still well attended every year.

I see a lot of the same faces each time, and there are some that have attended every ceremony since 2011. Old friends that meet at the Fire Hall lawn every September 11th.

On Sunday Chief Moore once again held the remembrance. It’s one of those truly solemn events. Especially poignant for those who remember the events of September 11th, 2001. Those who remember where they were twenty-one years ago when the first plane hit the World Trade Center.

The SFD’s ceremony pays tribute to the firefighters, paramedics, police officers and other innocent victims who were killed in the attack.

Just before 7:00a.m., the group assembles in front of the Fire Hall’s flagpole.

There is a special monument on the lawn dedicated to the 2,977 people killed in the September 11th attacks, 412 of which were emergency workers in New York City who responded to the World Trade Center.

The remembrance begins with a haunting radio call, a call to service which is left unanswered by those who lost their lives that morning. The American flag is raised by the Color Guard, dropped to half-staff, then a memorial wreath is placed on the 9/11 monument.

In the early years of the ceremony, it was presided over by Pastor Bruce Engel, now Chaplain Danny Matchniff reads a short, passionate prayer.

And bagpipes! Real bagpipes! How many other little towns have an actual live bagpipe player for ceremonies such as these? C. J. Hewitt brings something so solemn, so perfect, to the occasion. This year he was joined by his son Archer, who helped with the ceremony.

Taps was played by the incredible Craig Harris. I have to emphasize this was on a real honest-to-goodness trumpet and not one of those computerized bugles that are popular at ceremonies nowadays.

CalFire’s Lassen Modoc Unit brought lots of firefighters and of course there was the usual outpouring of support from local L.E.O.s, both in and out of uniform. The audience was filled with community leaders, dignitaries and folks who came out on the smoky, kind of chilly, morning to pay their tributes.

Rachel Vincent and her Cadet Corps, who have been a part of the ceremony for several years, were missed, as the cadet program is not running this year at the school.

It is very somber, and very respectful and it is something I am immensely proud of us for doing year after year without fail.

News from around town

Sierra Theatre is reopening after a bit of remodeling and the addition of beer and wine, along with pizza slices, and this weekend you can see Bad Moms or Caddyshack for free and have an adult beverage! You get a free slice of pizza with each beer or glass of wine.

There is a new equipment rental place in town! Cashman Equipment has opened a new store in the old Baxter Auto building just past Kentucky Fried Chicken on Johnstonville Road.

Hey! Come see the Symphony this weekend! This is pure self-promotion because tomorrow at the Concert on the Green I get to sing a song. I LOVE doing this concert on the lawn at the old Courthouse, it’s a lot of fun to be a part of, with lots of people who are far more talented than I.

The concert starts at five and you can get tickets online at or from Margie’s Book Nook.

Bottle and Brush Art Bar is doing Trivia Nights and rumor has it that Mikalah and the Shaffer Elementary Trivia Team are unstoppable. I’m pretty sure the SusanvilleStuff trivia team could take them though.

Susanville’s nightlife is amazingly more active than it has been in years with several new places and things to do around town for entertainment. Awesome!

I think that is all! Have a great weekend everybody!

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso Publisher/Editor
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