Wreaths are placed at the Saddleback Veterans Memorial on Tuesday (Zach Cavanagh)
Students, faculty, police, veterans, and others gathered at the veterans memorial in the Saddleback quad on Tuesday to commemorate the 11-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Although 11 years have passed since the events of that day, their effects still resonated through those gathered for the ceremony. Many members of the crowd were brought to tears and other signs of emotion through their own memories, the ceremony itself, or the retelling of the stories of that day.
Former Marine and Saddleback student Jayson Vespia began the ceremony by addressing the crowd. Vespia detailed how the many that died in the attacks that day and the many that have died in combat in the following wars will be remembered. He also detailed the legacy of all of those involved.
“The legacy of 9/11 is the legacy of firefighters who walked into the fire,” Vespia said, “To the first responders who ran towards the sounds of chaos instead of running the opposite direction. To the service members who signed up to serve for their country. To the workers who raised new towers. And more importantly to the children that will realize the dreams of their parents.”
Vespia ended with a final thought of the resolve and triumph of the country.
“It was said that we kept the faith in ourselves and each other,” Vespia said. “We all took a painful blow that day, but we emerged a much stronger country.”
Vespia was followed by Lieutenant Chris Wilson of the Mission Viejo Police Department. Wilson detailed the numbers of the 2,977 people that died in the attacks. The numbers were broken down among the first responders, firefighters, and police.
Wilson explained how the police departments, law enforcement, and other areas have improved with changes enacted after 9/11. Wilson asked those to never forget those that died in the attacks and the growing number of service members who have died in the ensuing conflicts.
The ceremony wrapped up with the placing of wreaths next to the veteran’s memorial and a singing of the “Star Spangled Banner.”