REMEMBERING THE FALLEN (Oliver Yu)
A ceremony was held last Friday in front of the new Veterans Memorial in remembrance of those who were killed in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Acting as Master of Ceremonies Chief of Police Harry Parmer welcomed the guest speakers, and attendees beginning with Vice President for Instruction Rajen Vurdien.
“This is a very solemn moment in our history to remember what happened to fellow countrymen eight years ago this very day,” said Vurdien. “They died because they all lived in the United States of America and they all fell victim to terrorists of rogue nations who envied the lifestyle of Americans, the freedom of Americans, and the value of Americans to celebrate every human being, no matter his or her nationality, origin, no matter his her ethnic background, no matter his or her agenda, lifestyle, and this is something many countries do not like and it is fitting that every year we remember this solemn moment.”
“We also want to honor the courage, bravery, and dedication of the Firemen, Police, and many others who heroically risked and gave their lives and limbs to save others, plus the many heroes who showed various forms of support from around this great nation,” said Parmer. “As we begin our commemoration today I am reminded of the words of Martin Luther King, in the end we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our friends.”
Parmer recognized three student veterans as very special men, two Marines and a sailor. Also recognized, was guest speaker Ehren Terbeek. Terbeek entered the marine corp. on Jan. 2001 at age 17, ultimately serving two tours in Iraq.
“It was on those streets and in those houses I sacrificed my childhood imagination,” said Terbeeil who graduated with an Associates Degree in Arts from Saddleback in 2008 and has since transferred to Chapman University.
Parmer continued with the ceremony and asked for a silent moment of reflection honoring the victims of 9/11 and those who lost their lives in subsequent action defending our freedom. He then introduced Dr. Bob Cosgrove, President of the Academic Center, who spoke of similarities between Manhattan’s 9/11 memorial site, and Saddleback’s Veteran Memorial.
“It is in one sense a diagonal line between this memorial site in Mission Viejo, Calif. and Manhattan, New York world trade center twin towers where another memorial has been built and commemorated,” said Cosgrove.
“This memorial is the idea of Richard McCullough,” former president of Saddleback College, “I don’t know what brought about this idea and the persistence in establishing this site, but it seems appropriate that we students, faculty, staff, administrators, veterans, and community be reminded what has since transpired and what connection it has to us in Mission Viejo and to those in NY City.” said Cosgrove. “Remember each time we talk, each time we walk by, or stop at this memorial.”
One person that will remember when looking at the New Veterans Memorial is Jennie McCue, Director of Public Information here at Saddleback College, and attendant of the ceremony. “It was so scary not knowing whether it was safer to run or stay where you were,” said McCue, who was working in the capitol at the time of the attacks.
Friday’s event was the maiden ceremony at the Veterans Memorial. Parmer tells the story of then, President Rich McCullough: “McCullough talked to me, and you know I’m a retired marine, I served 24 years in Vietnam and Desert Storm and whenever there’s questions on campus concerning the protocol of the flag, they think that I know it, I just kind of bamboozle them to let them know that I do know it, so what happened was he asked me if I could come up with a concept of what we could do, so initially we had it out at the main flag pole,” said Parmer. “The college community really embraced it; students, staff, everybody, community members, and the college received a lot of very positive recognition.”
Parmer said that the ceremony has been held each year since then-It had been discussed and was thought that it would eventually lose its impetus, simply because of time, but so far we haven’t seen that.