Hundreds of people gathered Wednesday at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum in Yorba Linda for a ceremony honoring the victims of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
The highlights of the solemn event included speeches by Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy, District Atty. Todd Spitzer and keynote speaker Norman Mineta, former U.S. transportation secretary during the 9/11 attack.
Mineta spoke about his experiences the day of the attack, including his decision to ground all planes over U.S. airspace.
“I wanted all the planes down,” Mineta said. “We brought down 6,438 planes in two hours and 30 minutes. It required a tremendous amount of coordination.”
While describing how he and his team monitored the path of United Airlines Flight 93 that day, he mentioned he “will always be eternally grateful to the people aboard.”
The passengers of Flight 93 attempted to regain control of the airplane from hijackers. The plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania.
Between speeches, bagpipers and a choir performed tunes like “America the Beautiful” and “Amazing Grace.”
In a courtyard near the auditorium where the event was being held were 2,977 small American flags, honoring each victim of the terrorist attack.
At one point, a few dozen young Army recruits took their oath of enlistment. Each speaker thanked the young recruits for agreeing to to take up arms for the country. It was noted that the recruits were either not born at the time, or too young to remember 9/11.
“Pursuing our liberty is a work that does not end,” Barnes said.