Lights illuminate the American flag at the National 9/11 Pentagon Memorial in Arlington, VA, on Wednesday. The Pentagon Memorial was created to remember and honor those lost at the Pentagon Sept. 11, 2001. Coast Guard photo

San Diegans took time out Monday to remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States that took place 16 years ago.

In National City, a New York fire vehicle that responded to the stricken World Trade Center was on display during a breakfast event hosted by the National City Fire Department and Wounded Warrior Foundation.

“It started out as a fireman-type thing for us to get together, but now that it’s 16 years, we have a whole generation that wasn’t even born yet,” NCFD Battalion Chief Don Minor told NBC San Diego. More than 400 first- responders were killed that day, including 343 firefighters.

The sentiment was shared at ceremonies around the region, such as at the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum in San Diego, the Coronado Fire Department, Valley Center, UC San Diego and Grossmont College.

“What this is all about is to make sure this is not swept underneath the rug and forgotten about,” Bill Hay told 10News at the Grossmont College event, where the stage was set up before a lawn adorned with small flags to mark the nearly 3,000 people killed that day. “That’s the most important thing in my lifetime now.”

Hay, now an 89-year-old Marine veteran, was on the 55th floor of the WTC North Tower when an aircraft struck.

Nine people with San Diego County connections died in the attacks, including Tom McGuinness, the co-pilot of the first hijacked airplane to crash into the twin towers.

–City News Service