People gathered aboard the U.S.S. Midway on Feb. 12, 2011, for the U.S. Naval Aviation Program's Parade of Flight, a sky-show celebration honoring 100 years of Naval Aviation.
San Diegans, among others, will gather Sunday for a 9/11 memorial ceremony at the U.S.S. Midway Museum.
As the country prepares for a day of remembrance on the 10th anniversary of the attacks, people all over the county will once again share their feelings and experiences of day that has become a pivotal moment in history.
For the fifth year, the Midway's 9/11 memorial plans to honor those who have, and continue to, serve and protect the country.
Sadness and Gratitude
It's feelings of sorrow, pain and mourning for the lives lost a decade ago, and in the years after, that continue to be seen at ceremonies all across the nation. However, with those emotions comes an overwhelming sense of thanks to the men and women who helped save lives that day and days after the attack which left the world in shock.
The U.S.S. Midway will again give thanks to those who serve our country in an event that begins at 2:30 p.m.
Event organizer, Scott McGaugh, said it will be just like any other day at the air craft carrier museum.
"On a daily basis, civilians come up to persons in uniform just to say thanks," said McGaugh. "It's interesting to when see young graduates from boot camp, who come aboard the deck in uniform with their parents, have elderly people come up to thank them for their service, even if it's only been for a few weeks."
Sharing in their desire to say thanks are many who asked to join the Midway's ceremony earlier in the year.
As the anniversary of 9/11 approached, a number of local organizations asked to participate,
"This year we saw a commitment by organizations to get involved," said McGaugh. "It's become a broader event overall."
A Growing Tradition
The U.S.S. Midway ceremony began five years ago when the San Diego Chapter of the retired New York Firefighters asked museum officials if they could hold a 9/11 memorial aboard the ship.
"We gladly said yes and helped them plan it," said McGaugh, who has overseen the marketing of
the event since its inception.
The event has grown by leaps and bounds since the first ceremony, adding special presentations year after year, and as it grows, so does its attendance.
Organizers have seen the crowd size grow to 500 people and this year more than of 1,000 people are expected for the free event.
The public will be welcomed into the museum starting at 1:30 p.m.
At this year's ceremony, an 11-star wreath laying presentation is planned along with a US Navy flyover, a reading of the names accompanied by a tolling of the bells, a twin helicopter flyover and a twenty-one gun salute.
Mayor Jerry Sanders will be a guest speaker alongside Chairman Bill Horn of the 5th District, Vice Admiral Hunt, Commander Naval Surface Forces and Naval Surface Force, US Pacific Fleet, and retired Colonel Jason Frye.
Also making an appearance will be fire department officials from San Diego, Orange County, Washington, Camp Pendleton, Federal County and Oceanside.
There will be a presentation of the Colors by the United States Marine Corp and a show from the San Diego Emerald Society Pipes and Drums.
The list is large, and yet there are so many more men and women who are deserving of thanks, said McGaugh, who shared that one of 9/11's biggest impacts on him was realizing the amount of the men and women whose job it is to help the county in a time of need.
"What was driving home for me after 9/11 were how many kinds of people serve this country - you don't realize that at first," said McGaugh. "Suddenly, I had a renewed and deeper appreciation for them all."