9/11 memorial
A helmet and flowers sit atop a rack at New York City’s Engine Co. 55 firehouse in New York City on 9/11. Eric Draper/National Archives

 A ceremony at the University of San Diego led remembrances in the San Diego area Monday to honor those lost in the 9/11 terror attacks 22 years ago.

The morning USD event was intended to “both reflect on the past and look forward to a more peaceful future,” the university said in statement. “USD will honor those who died on September 11, 2001, and shine a light on current day efforts to foster peace.”

In that spirit, the event was held in the KIPJ Theatre at USD’s Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

Just outside the Kroc School sits a 9/11 memorial that includes a fountain surrounded by 3,000 glass plaques with the names and hometowns of the people who died.

“I think it reminds all of us of where we were that day, how we found out, and what our reaction was, and takes us back in a sense,” said Michael Lovette-Coyler, USD’s vice president of mission integration. “Across 22 years it sometimes can feel far away, but I think when someone tells a story it comes right back, and we can feel the power and the intensity of it again.

“Unfortunately after Sept. 11, 2001, we know that some divisions emerged and some people have tried to divide us based on religion in particular, so especially important on a day like this that we recognize our commonality and our shared humanity,” Lovette-Coyler said.

Speakers at the event included USD President James T. Harris III and San Diego City Councilman Raul Campillo, followed by a presentation from an ROTC Color Guard, including a rendition of “Taps,” and an interfaith prayer.

Also Monday morning, San Diego County Supervisors Terra Lawson-Remer and Nora Vargas took a moment of silence before an unrelated news conference “in honor of all victims, but especially eight children who lost their lives, and countless other kids who have spent the last 22 years without their parents or guardians because of the attacks,” a statement from Lawson-Remer’s office read.

At 2:30 p.m., the USS Midway Museum was scheduled to hold a remembrance ceremony on the ship’s flight deck in partnership with FDNY Retirees of San Diego, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, National City FD, SDFF Emerald Society and The Wounded Warrior Project. The Midway is located at 910 N. Harbor Drive.

Monday’s events come one day after the San Diego 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb, in which some 1,000 people scaled 110 flights of stairs — the same number as were in the World Trade Center towers.

The Hilton San Diego Bayfront hosted the Sunday event, with firefighters, police officers, military members and civilians joining together “in a spirit of remembrance and courage to honor the memories of those lost 22 years ago,” according to a statement from the event’s organizer, the nonprofit Firefighter Aid.

Each climber wore the name of a first responder who died on 9/11/2001.

“We climb in memory, and to honor each of the fallen 343 FDNY, 23 NYPD, and 37 Port Authority heroes, and to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by firefighters everywhere,” Firefighter Aid said.

In addition, Miramar National Cemetery on Monday will break ground on San Diego’s first Gold Star Families Memorial, honoring the families of those who have lost a loved one while they served in the country’s armed forces. The monument will be the first Gold Star Families Memorial Monument in the area.

Updated at 12:50 p.m. Sept. 11, 2023

–City News Service