A 9/11 remembrance ceremony in La Mesa was one of several held around San Diego County on Saturday. A small group of veterans and community members gathered at the Vietnam Memorial in downtown La Mesa to honor those killed in the attacks.
“On the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, four commercial airliners were hijacked,” said Mike Seiler, Vice Commander of American Legion, Post 282 as he spoke from a podium.
Seiler helped organize the solemn salute to the fallen.
Among those in attendance was Spring Valley resident, Raymond Taylor. He recalls his son calling him on the phone and telling him to turn on the TV.
“I saw the second plane hit. It’s like my life force left me,” Taylor said.
As a Vietnam veteran, Taylor never thought we would be attacked in the homeland.
Two decades later, he thinks we’re safer, but we can still improve.
“We are in a better place, but we have to understand that we have to remain united and we can’t be fighting each other. That’s what the enemy wants,” Taylor said.
On Sept. 11, Retired airman Jack Porath was working in the civil service for the U.S. Navy Seals.
“I was getting phone calls from Washington D.C. from New York. People telling me firsthand what they’re seeing. What they’re going through on that day,” he said.
Porath gets a bit choked up when he remembers the Seals and Special Operators who made the ultimate sacrifice during the war on terror.
“I’ve gone to a couple of ceremonies for them and … yeah… they’re a group to be revered,” said Porath.
At Saturday’s ceremony in La Mesa, the American Legion also paid respects to the local sailors killed in a chopper crash during training last week.