Auburn Cruise Nite has its finest hour

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Auburnites of all races, creeds and economic status gathered on Lincoln Way Friday evening, Sept. 14, to attend Cruise Nite’s annual tribute to 9/11 victims, survivors and first responders of then and today. In a moving tribute generated first on Sept. 14, 2001 with an impromptu memorial and succeeded over the years with formalized events, the audience paid rapt attention to addresses by several dignitaries including Mayor Kevin Hanley, City Councilman Mike Holmes, Police Chief John Ruffcorn and Fire Chief Mark D’Ambrogi. All paid respect to the victims and heroic rescuers at the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Flight 93, striking all the right chords and pushing all the right buttons for maximum effect. The ceremony was emceed by Rotary Club leader Steven Lease. Patriotic musical selections were presented by Jennifer Bortz and cast members from her Roseville-based Standout Talent theatrical company headquartered in the Tower Theater. Outstanding contributions were made by the honor guard of combined officers from the Auburn Police Department and Auburn Fire Department as they presented our nation’s colors, and Auburn’s John Dykstra offered a magnificent rendition of “Taps.” Mickey Bennett of Mickey’s Boots provided the sound equipment. A surprise of the evening was the announcement and presentation from Mike Holmes and Mark D’Ambrogi as they unveiled a piece of steel girder rescued from the Twin Towers and obtained for the City of Auburn after negotiations with the New York and New Jersey Port Authority. Encased in a glass enclosure, it will be on permanent display at City Hall. The sponsoring Cruise Nite Committee is aware of recent talk of a waning interest in perpetuating 9/11 memorials. We vow that as long as there is a Cruise Nite in Auburn, there will always be a tribute to 9/11 the evening of the September event. On behalf of the Cruise Nite Committee, I would like to thank all those who attended for making this the most memorable event in its 12-year history. Chuck Butler, Granite Bay