American heroes honored, celebrated at Sacramento parade

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Charles Rivezzo
  • 60th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs
After weeks of being celebrated overseas and across the country, the three young Americans who thwarted a train attack en route to Paris, were finally home. 

Thousands lined the streets of downtown Sacramento to welcome home Airman 1st Class Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos and Anthony Sadler during the Sacramento Hometown Heroes parade on Sept. 11.

With an estimated attendance of 10,000, the trio of friends waved to the crowd as their parade float was showered by confetti cannons shooting white strips of paper into the air. The crowd, filled with military veterans, families and Sacramento residents looked on proudly, holding up signs that read "Sacramento Proud" and swaying American flags back and forth.

Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson presided over the event.

"What happened on Aug. 21, 2015, a world away, on a train, will go down in history," Johnson said. "The stunning act of heroism that these three young men displayed was not an isolated action ... the action sent a message."

The mayor said the actions of the three young men served as a statement.  A statement that said, "We will not succumb to the barbaric acts of terrorism. We are not afraid. We will do whatever it takes to protect freedom and liberty and we are willing to put others before self."

Stone, Skarlatos and Sadler took the microphone to briefly thank the crowd.

"I just want to say how overwhelming this all is," said Sadler while pausing for a spontaneous chant of "U.S.A, U.S.A." from the crowd as a C-17 Globemaster III from Travis Air Force Base, California, flew over the state capitol building.

"We have been all around the world these past couple weeks, but I just want you all to know all the thanks we received everywhere doesn't feel like anything in comparison to being in front of our home crowd like this."

At the podium, Stone acknowledged the significance of the day as the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"I don't even know what to say, this support is amazing. We all love you. We love Sacramento and we're proud to be here on this day," Stone said. "We don't want to forget why we're all gathered here today, in remembrance of September 11th. We live for each other and die for each other."

During his closing remarks, Johnson presented the three men with "keys to the city."

"Today, every Sacramentan has their chest puffed out just a little bit, walking with a little extra pep in our step," the mayor said, "knowing that the city's native sons, who came to rescue and thwarted another, potentially grizzly terrorist attack, sent a message to terrorists everywhere.

"As Americans, as Californians, as Sacramentans, we will not sit idly by."