Services marking the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were held throughout Riverside County Tuesday, with a giant American flag draped on one side of the tallest building in downtown Riverside solemnizing the occasion.
The flag was unfurled overnight on the south side of the 170-foot-tall County Administrative Center on Lemon Street, facing the Riverside (91) Freeway.
The Board of Supervisors held a moment of silence in remembrance of the lives lost on 9/11 prior to delving into county business Tuesday morning.
As they’ve done for the past 14 years, Murrieta police officers and firefighters donned heavy tactical gear and went on a five-mile “9/11 Tribute Run” that began and ended in Town Square Park.
More than two dozen runners participated, carrying an American flag and commemorative guidon, intended to recognize the sacrifices of public safety and military personnel who perished during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.
In Riverside, the city held its annual “Day of Service,” marking 9/11 with activities promoting charity and selflessness.
Former Riverside Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Esparza and retired Deputy Chief Dave Austin were scheduled speakers during the opening ceremonies on the campus of La Sierra University. Both men deployed to New York City with fellow members of Riverside County Task Force 6 a few days after the coordinated jihadi attack that destroyed the Twin Towers.
The men were initially assigned to rescue teams but soon found themselves involved in recovery operations, which included looking for the remains of the 343 firefighters killed when the towers collapsed.
“Riverside has a special connection to the events of 9/11 because our first responders played a strong role in the rescue and cleanup efforts at Ground Zero those many years ago,” Mayor Rusty Bailey said. “The citywide Day of Service is our community’s way to thank them every year, while also providing a public venue for remembering those we lost that day.”
Throughout the day, blood drives were held at City Hall and volunteer cleanup teams were encouraged to dedicate an hour to removing refuse and engaging in other beautification efforts.
“This event is an opportunity, each year, to look back in remembrance, but also to look forward to a brighter future together,” Councilman Mike Gardner said.
The Day of Service was slated to conclude at 5:30 p.m. outside City Hall, where the UC Riverside Pipe Band will play reflective music as part of a steel I-beam that snapped in two when the towers fell will be put on display. According to city officials, the Port Authority of New York donated the broken metal to Task Force 6 in recognition of their assistance.
Murrieta was scheduled to hold a “Sunset 9/11 Service,” beginning at 7:15 p.m., adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial on the Juniper Street side of Town Square Park.
Community Services Department spokeswoman Laura Frasso told City News Service that Mayor Jonathan Ingram and fire Chief Scott Ferguson will lead the observance, which will include a color guard presentation by police officers and fire personnel, followed by bagpipe music suited to the occasion.
After brief remarks, officials will unveil the finished memorial, which consists of a slanted rock on which a plaque is mounted with quotes from former President George W. Bush, speaking immediately after the attacks. There is also a bench nearby with the inscription “We Will Never Forget.”
About 300 people are expected to attend the event, and all will be invited to leave rocks around the memorial to pay homage to the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11.
>> Want to read more stories like this? Get our Free Daily Newsletters Here!Follow us: