Orange County fire Chief Keith Richter gives a speech at IVC’s 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony. (Kaylee Johnston )
Community members and students gathered at Irvine Valley College’s Performing Arts Center to bear witness to the ceremony held in honor of remembrance for 9/11 yesterday at noon.
In addition to having the speeches given inside the theater, the campus was bustling with displays from the Orange County Sheriff’s SWAT team and the Orange County Bomb Squad. An Orange County Sheriff’s Department helicopter landed in the field right next to the PAC, rushing large gusts of wind over the dozens of spectators who gathered to watch it land and take off.
Inside the PAC, a number of guest speakers took the stage to give their message about what 9/11 means for the United States and what we, as a nation, should do to keep ourselves safe from any similar attacks. “Never Forget” was the line that resonated throughout all the speeches.
“I think that this memorial ceremony is so important and I’m so grateful that the college continues, even after 12 years now, to continue to pause, bring us all together and have an opportunity to remember about all those that were impacted that day,” Irvine Police Department Chief David Maggard Jr. said.
Maggard had been serving in Manhattan Beach as a Captain when the 9/11 attacks happened. Since then, he’s been working closely with the Orange County Fire Authority and the OCSD to ensure the safety of his citizens.
“No entity on their own can be fully prepared,” he said. “Of course we never want to think about what might happen, but we are forced to think about what might happen. So we are doing everything we can to make sure that we’re prepared.”
OCSD Assistant Sheriff Mark Billings believes in being prepared and being aware.
“The primary and fundamental function of [the orange county intelligent assessment center] is to fuse all of our disciplines so that we can prepare for, prevent, or even see something coming our way, a hazard, of any kind, whether it be a natural disaster, an intentional act, a criminal act, a terrorist act, so we can be prepared for it, stop it, prevent it, mitigate it maybe, or at least respond to it better when it does happen,” Billings said. “Our job is to protect the citizens of Orange County.”
Both Maggard and Billings believe that ordinary citizens are capable of protecting their fellow man as much as law enforcement can. They promote the “See Something, Say Something” campaign, which urges citizens to call their local law enforcement agency if they see something suspicious.
“Talk to someone about it,” Billlins said. “It might be more important than you think. And recognize that you’re a big part of the solution.”
The final speaker of the ceremony, OCFA Chief Keith Richter believes that all Americans should look forward to a brighter future.
“I certainly respect and appreciate the “never forget” message. But I also have the idea that there’s a brighter tomorrow, there’s optimism, and that we as a country need to be thinking about how do we honor their memory and do more productive things in the future,” Richter said.
IVC’s Commemoration Ceremony began with a presentation of the flags by the Irvine Police Department Honor Guard. (Kaylee Johnston)
Deputy Sheriff John Richardson displayed artillery during IVC’s 9/11 ceremony. (Kaylee Johnston)
Mike Carlson explains the bomb disposal robot to IVC students before the Commemoration Ceremony. (Kaylee Johnston)
An Orange County Sheriff Department helicopter landed on IVC’s campus for the 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony. (Kaylee Johnston)