Cities throughout western Riverside County Saturday marked the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks with patriotic concerts, moments of silence and flag ceremonies.
The earliest event was at 5:40 a.m. in Murrieta, where the city hosted a brief service themed “We Will Never Forget,” with remarks by municipal representatives and others at Town Square Park.
The same venue will feature a patriotic concert by the Temecula Valley Symphony at 6 p.m.
In Corona, at 8 a.m., elected officials, including Riverside County Supervisor Karen Spiegel and Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, joined public safety personnel and residents for moments of reflection against a backdrop of 2,977 American flags — each one representing a life lost as a result of the terrorist attacks — placed around the Corona Historic Civic Center on West Sixth Street.
“Those we lost were from 90 different countries. Thousands more were injures. Now two decades later, it’s still, for many of us, too much pain to really express in any manner,” Calvert said.
In Moreno Valley, Mayor Yxstian Gutierrez invited residents to leave flowers and other appropriate symbols recognizing the occasion at the foot of the Sept. 11 memorial in front of fire Station No. 99 on Morrison Street.
“This somber day allows us to reflect on the thousands of lives lost at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania,” Gutierrez said. “On this day, we should also think of the bravery and resilience of our first responders and our armed forces, who set out to defend and protect our values.”
Roughly 340 firefighters and 60 police officers were killed when the World Trade Center’s towers collapsed.
The Moreno Valley Unified School District hosted a commemorative ceremony paying homage at 9 a.m., within the district office attended by representatives from March Air Reserve Base.
The city will also illuminate its “Big M” on the side of Box Springs Mountain in patriotic red, while and blue during the overnight hours to mark the anniversary.
In Temecula, a 9/11 remembrance service was held at the Duck Pond, adjacent to the Veterans Memorial.
Throughout the day, neighborhood cleanups and donation drives in Riverside were part of the city’s annual “Day of Service” that was inspired by the recovery efforts in the wake of the terrorist attacks.
Officials said volunteers help removal of litter, graffiti and items stuck to utility poles, as well as to pile up fallen palm fronds, which can turn into fuel for fires.
Earlier this week, the city premiered the locally produced documentary “9/11: One City Remembers,” featuring archival video, photographs shown publicly for the first time and interviews with members of Riverside County Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 6.
The task force firefighters, mostly from the city of Riverside, spent 11 days at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the WTC collapse.
“One of the most in-depth peeks yet inside the private world of the US&R team community and how they operate,” producer Tim Roche said of the film. “A truly revealing look behind the scenes as a 60-member team faced with stark realities and painful visages is still buoyed by a grateful people throughout.”
The film is slated to air again on local cable stations.