City officials and residents joined together early this morning to remember the heroes and victims of Sept. 11, 2001.
The 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Pennsylvania ended with a death toll of 2,996, including 343 firefighters. Seventeen years later, San Marcos held a ceremony at City Hall to honor the victims and heroes.
Manager Bert Lumbreras welcomed everyone to the ceremony and said he immediately recognized the young faces in the room. He said it is important the youth acknowledge and understand what happened on that tragic day.
Max Jakobs, finance freshman, attended the ceremony with a few of his friends.
“(9/11) has always been something that I’ve shown a lot of respect for and it shows how quickly bad things can happen,” Jakobs said.
Attendees stood for the flags, held by Del Valle High School’s JROTC, sang the national anthem and recited the Pledge of Allegiance.
Mayor John Thomaides said 9/11 is one of the greatest tragedies the U.S. has endured. Thomaides read a proclamation honoring the heroism and sacrifice of those lost on 9/11. City Council members alongside Thomaides as he proclaimed today as Remembrance Day of the Events on 9/11 in San Marcos.
“America itself suffered that day, and San Marcos was no different,” Thomaides said. “We stand today for the values of our nation. We never let go of the values that make America truly the land of the free and home of the brave.”
Colonel Michael Kinslow, Del Valle High School JROTC instructor, took the stage following Thomaides. Kinslow is a survivor of the attack on the Pentagon and he reflected on that day.
Kinslow had been working in the Pentagon as a captain in the Airforce International Affairs office for about a year when he heard a large explosion and felt the building shake. The Pentagon was immediately evacuated. Kinslow said there was little knowledge if more attacks would come and everyone was in disbelief. He said everyone was sent home but it was difficult to leave because all communal transportation systems were suspended. Kinslow eventually made his way home to his wife and now shares his story.
To close out the ceremony, the ROTC, speakers and first responders placed a flower on the 9/11 flower memorial.
Shane Scott, former council member, said he attends San Marcos’ remembrance ceremony almost every year.
“(9/11) mentally effects everyone, it makes us think about the lives that were lost and the importance of unity,” Scott said. “Without (unity) you don’t have a town or city.”