A series of tributes were held or planned Wednesday in Banning, Murrieta and Riverside in remembrance of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
At 8:30 a.m. in Riverside, the city initiated its annual “Day of Service,” marking 9/11 with activities that promote charity and selflessness.
Officials gathered in the breezeway fronting Riverside City Hall, where Mayor Rusty Bailey saluted members of Riverside County Task Force 6, which deployed to New York City a few days after the terrorist attack that destroyed the World Trade Center.
“This annual event is an opportunity for our community to come together each year and thank our first responders while also remembering those fellow Americans who perished on that awful day,” Bailey said. “From the Riversiders who responded to Ground Zero immediately after the attacks to the first responders who help us to this day, we are grateful for their service and sacrifice.”
Riverside Fire Chief Michael Moore and retiring police Chief Sergio Diaz delivered remarks, and there was a moment of silence at 9:11 a.m.
Throughout the day, blood drives were conducted at City Hall, and volunteer cleanup teams dedicated an hour for the removal of refuse and engaged in other beautification efforts citywide.
Ceremonies were slated to conclude at 5:30 p.m. on the campus of La Sierra University, 4500 Riverwalk Parkway, where reflective music will be played and closing observations will be made by Councilman Jim Perry and others.
Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez, R-Lake Elsinore, sponsored a 9/11 commemoration, Resolution 61, which the Assembly unanimously approved Wednesday afternoon.
“No matter how many years go by, or how old you were when it happened, we should never forget those innocent lives lost on this day in 2001,” Melendez said. “The events of 9/11 were intended to break our American spirit, but instead brought us together like never before. It didn’t matter if you were a Democrat, a Republican, or apolitical — on that day we were all Americans.”
The resolution acknowledged the ongoing pain of survivors and loved ones of those who perished, as well as saluted all uniformed personnel who were involved that day 18 years ago.
“We remember this day because it reminds each one of us why we are proud to be Americans,” Melendez said. “It is on this day that we remember locking hands and arms as one nation, standing together, with a determination to fight for our freedoms and our values. We should never forget … the victims and the sacrifices of our heroes as they are a constant reminder of what unites us as one nation.”
The Riverside County Executive Office marked 9/11 this year with a flag-draping on the east side of the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside. That tradition began the week following the terrorist attacks, when then-Supervisor John Tavaglione ordered the entire CAC to be draped in giant American flags.
A blood drive was also held in the parking lot of the administrative complex.
Mt. San Jacinto College hosted a commemoration service at the college’s San Gorgonio campus on Westward Avenue in Banning. A 9/11 survivor’s letter was read aloud by a college official, and the Banning High School Band played patriotic music during the event.
The city of Murrieta was scheduled to hold a “Sunset 9/11 Service,” beginning at 7 p.m., adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial on the Juniper Street side of Town Square Park.
Mayor Kelly Seyarto and Murrieta Fire & Rescue Chief David Lantzer were slated to lead the observance, paying homage to the nearly 3,000 people killed in the terrorist attacks. A color guard presentation by police officers and fire personnel was to be followed by music suited to the occasion.
The city’s 9/11 Memorial 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.”
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