By Alexandra Mendoza
This coming Sunday will mark the 15th Anniversary of the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center in New York, claiming the lives of close to 3,000 Americans.
In commemoration of those who lost their lives on that tragic day, and to honor the first responders, San Diego authorities have begun a series of tributes leading up to this Sunday.
This Wednesday, San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer headed a ceremony remembering the courage of police officers, firemen and women, and emergency responders who came to America’s aid on the day that marked the worst terrorist attack on U.S. soil.
“[It was] a day that forever changed our nation. For millions of Americans, the haunting images of that fateful day remain fresh in our minds,” expressed the Mayor during the ceremony held at the Downtown Community Concourse.
“Like all of you, when I think of 9/11, many of the images that cannot escape us are the images of our first responders and their heroism; what they did for our nation on that very fateful day,” Faulconer added.
On September 11, 2001, the world watched on television as, in a matter of minutes, two planes crashed against the World Trade Center towers in New York. Not much later, a third plane hit one of the wings of the Pentagon, one of the world’s most secure facilities.
Of the nearly 3,000 people who lost their lives during these attacks, more than 400 were emergency workers, including close to 80 New York and New Jersey Police officers and Port Authority officers, and 343 firefighters. At the Pentagon, 55 members of the Armed Forces perished, according to official information. The attacks also left 6,000 wounded in their wake.
For San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, 9/11 is a reminder of how precious life is and how quickly everything can change. Zimmerman also stated that it should serve as a reminder to law enforcement agencies throughout the country to always be ready for the unexpected.
“The importance of America’s first responders to this country can never be minimized,” stressed the Police Chief.
Fire-Rescue Chief Brian Fennessy spoke of that somber day that “shaped who we are, how we live our lives, and what we believe in,” but also one in which our country witnessed acts of heroism that will forever remain in our memory.
“We are here today to remember and honor the men and women who gave their lives so that others could live theirs,” said Fennessy during this Wednesday’s tribute. “On September 11, 2001, our Nation saw the face of evil; yet on that awful day we also witnessed something distinctly American: ordinary citizens rising to the occasion and responding with extraordinary acts of courage.”