GUSTINE - West Siders will gather Friday evening in Gustine to remember the heroes and the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

The annual walk begins at 7:30 p.m. in front of Coast Hardware.

Those gathered in remembrance will walk to Third Avenue before dispersing.

The walk was started by VFW Auxiliary member Judy Quinn nearly 10 years ago. This year the city of Gustine is taking the lead in planning the event.

Participation in the event has grown each year, Mayor Pat Nagy said.

“This is a very worthwhile event, something that we need to do to make sure we pay tribute to all the people who lost their lives and to educate our younger people, many of whom were not even born when it happened,” Nagy commented. “This is a solemn event, and another example of how our communities, Gustine and Newman, (respect) the traditional values.”

The day of the terrorist attacks, Nagy said, is one that is ingrained in the memory of all Americans.

“It is the Pearl Harbor of the modern day,” he reflected. “Everybody who lived through that can remember exactly where they were when they heard the news or saw it on television.”

City Manager Doug Dunford echoed those sentiments.

“It is important that everybody remembers 9/11 and all the victims and heroes,” he stated.

The memorial walk started with a sidewalk march but has grown to the point that it now takes up almost an entire block of Fifth Street.

There are some changes in the format due to the pandemic, however.

Candles and flags will not be distributed due to the coronavirus, and those who participate are asked to socially distance in household groups and wear masks.

There will be no gathering and program at the Veterans Memorial Hall at the conclusion of the event, which had become a tradition in recent years.

Regardless, Dunford reflected, the walk is a powerful reminder of the events of that day and tribute to the victims and heroes of 9/11.

“It is important to just remember,” Dunford commented. “It gives people a chance to pay their respects.”