COSTA MESA — Ten years have passed, but the overwhelming confusion, fear and deep anger from Sept. 11, 2001, were too easily remembered at weekend events in Newport-Mesa.
So too was the heroism and courage shown that day.
More than 300 residents, city officials, local representatives, public safety officials and military personnel gathered Sunday at the U.S. Army Reserve Base at the Air National Guard facility, 2651 Newport Blvd., as part of Costa Mesa's commemoration of 9/11.
"One of the things I learned in 9/11 is that the American spirit can never be broken," said event speaker and Iraq War veteran 2nd Lt. Thomas Deluccia.
Two tan Humvees flanked the podium as a large American flag hung between two palm trees and gently rippled in the wind.
"We are united today, united as a community, in remembrance of the events of Sept. 11," said city Chief Executive Tom Hatch, later adding that "9/11 changed all of us and changed how we live our lives each day."
Each audience member held an American flag throughout the two-hour ceremony as the 311th Signal Command surrounded one side of the seating area and the Tustin Youth Marines, in military formation, surrounded the other.
Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer remembered the nearly 3,000 victims and first-responders who died, giving thanks to those who keep Costa Mesa safe every day: police officers, firefighters and military personnel.
"It is said that every generation will have a defining moment," Deluccia said. "We must never forget the ones that made the ultimate sacrifice."
Two officials who reside in Costa Mesa attended a ceremony at Pier Plaza in Huntington Beach. At that event, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, a Costa Mesa resident, shared a memory of visiting New York in 2000 and viewing the city from the top of the twin towers — a vantage point so high, he said, that he and his family looked down at a blimp
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) called America's current war on terror one in a series of battles against tyrannical regimes around the world, including Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.
"We Americans represent to the evil forces on this planet a block to their domination and a block to their goals," he said.
Michael Miller also contributed to this report