A quiet hush fell across the quad of Saddleback College’s campus Thursday, Sept 11, as fallen heroes of the 9/11 attacks were honored.
Saddleback Campus Police Lt. Patrick Higa, who organized and lead the event began the brief, 30-minute patriotic ceremony with this reminder.
“From the initial plane crash of American Airlines Flight #11 into the first tower at the World Trade Center to United Airlines Flight #93 crashing into a field in Pennsylvania, a mere 77 minutes had elapsed,” Higa said. “In that brief period of time, nearly 3,000 lives were lost and the course of history and all of our lives were forever changed.”
Higa further said, “We honor the brave and selfless men and women that volunteered to step into harm’s way to protect and serve others. No better examples can be found than the firefighters, law enforcement officers, and citizen volunteers who answered the call for aid this day 13 years ago.”
Higa went on to honor the survivors of this “vicious attack to our country”, the men and women who serve or have served in the nation’s military, and the families of those who lost loved ones.
Student Development Office Senior Administrative Assistant Erin Long sang her rendition of the national anthem. Ironically, September 13, 2014 marked the 200th anniversary of Francis Scott Key’s penning this commemorative poem.
Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Pokey Sanchez then spoke, giving appreciation to the 343 firefighters and paramedics who lost their lives, along with all the others. Sanchez recalled how, “ordinary human beings extended love to their family and friends by becoming extraordinary heroes that day.”
Saddleback president Tod Burnett and Sanchez then placed a colorful floral wreath at the college’s Veterans’ Memorial. Thirteen students and staff members then placed red and yellow roses at the base of the wreath, each rose representing one year since this fateful day.
Higa drew the ceremony to a close by playing a heart-rendering audio tape of one the 9/11 survivors. He then said, “Let us honor and remember what today stands for. Never forget…” Indeed we won’t.