Valley News -

9/11 remembrance services today in Murrieta, Riverside


Last updated 9/11/2018 at 11:55am

RIVERSIDE - A series of tributes are planned today in Murrieta and Riverside in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001.

As they've done for the past 14 years, Murrieta police officers and firefighters donned heavy tactical gear and went on a five-mile "9/11 Tribute Run'' beginning about 7 a.m. in Town Square Park.

Between 30 and 40 runners are expected to participate, carrying an American flag and commemorative guidon, intended to recognize the sacrifices of public safety and military personnel who perished during the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

At 8:30 a.m. in Riverside, the city will begin its annual "Day of Service,'' marking 9/11 with activities that promote charity and selflessness.

Former Riverside Fire Department Battalion Chief Mike Esparza and retired Deputy Chief Dave Austin were scheduled to speak during the opening ceremonies on the campus of La Sierra University, 4500 Riverwalk Parkway. Both men deployed to New York City with fellow members of Riverside County Task Force 6 a few days after the jihadi attack that destroyed the twin towers.

The men were initially assigned to rescue teams but soon found themselves involved in recovery operations, which included looking for the remains of the 343 firefighters killed when the towers collapsed.

Throughout the day, blood drives are planned at Riverside City Hall, 3900 Main St., and volunteer cleanup teams will be encouraged to dedicate an hour to removing refuse and engaging in other beautification efforts.

The Day of Service will conclude at 5:30 p.m. outside City Hall, where the UC Riverside Pipe Band will play as part of a steel I-beam that snapped in two when the towers fell will be put on display. According to city officials, the Port Authority of New York donated the broken metal to Task Force 6 in recognition of their assistance.

The Riverside County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to acknowledge the events of 17 years ago during its invocation at the start of today's meeting, and individual supervisors are expected to share observations. Supervisor John Tavaglione, who is retiring at the end of the year, was the only member of the existing board serving as a supervisor at the time.

Immediately after the attacks on the WTC and Pentagon, Tavaglione and his then-colleagues arranged for all four sides of the County Administrative Center in downtown Riverside to be draped in giant American flags that hung for weeks.

Murrieta will hold a "Sunset 9/11 Service,'' beginning at 7:15 p.m., adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial on the Juniper Street side of Town Square Park.

Community Services Department spokeswoman Laura Frasso told City News Service that Mayor Jonathan Ingram and Fire Chief Scott Ferguson will lead the observance, which will include a color guard presentation by police officers and fire personnel, followed by bagpipe music.

After brief remarks, officials will unveil the finished memorial, which consists of a slanted rock on which a plaque is mounted with quotes from former President George W. Bush, speaking immediately after the attacks. There is also a bench nearby with the inscription "We Will Never Forget.''

About 300 people are expected to attend the event, and all will be invited to leave rocks around the memorial to pay homage to the nearly 3,000 people killed on 9/11.


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