Ryan Hallahan, a former Marine, stops by the 9/11 flag memorial  on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Chris Stone
Ryan Hallahan, a former Marine, stops by the 9/11 flag memorial on Thursday afternoon. Photo credit: Chris Stone

As President Obama announced a stepped-up military campaign against a new group of terrorists, Americans on Thursday observed the anniversary of the terror strikes of Sept. 11, 2001, and the resulting deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

The President, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin E. Dempsey led an observance ceremony at the Pentagon Memorial to honor the memory of those killed there in the terrorist attack. The ceremony included family members of those fallen.

On Wednesday night, President Obama used a televised address to announce that the United States will lead a broad coalition of nations to take the fight to the brutal Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. U.S. aircraft have already carried out more than 150 strikes. in Iraq, and will now target the terrorist group in Syria as well.

Students at Cuyamaca College walk beside the flag display honoring 9/11 victims. Photo credit: Chris Stone

In San Diego, 9/11 will be remembered  in ceremonies that include those at San Diego Miramar College, UC San Diego, the aircraft carrier Midway museum, and at Cuyamaca College, where students, including former military members, stopped to reflect among flags set out for each victim.

Miramar College will dedicate a $16.5 million building devoted to firefighter and emergency medical training at 10:30 a.m. San Diego firefighters pipes and drums corps will perform, and Supervisor Dave Roberts is scheduled to present a $20,000 Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Grant to support the school’s fire technology program.

The 22,900-square foot building includes laboratory support space, equipment staging areas, classrooms and administrative office space. Right outdoors is a training area with a drill tower and additional storage space, according to the college.

Elsewhere in San Diego County, thousands of American flags will be displayed, wreaths will be laid and a blood drive will be held to honor those who died in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, on 9/11.

Scheduled speakers at the 10:30 a.m. Cuyamaca College event include Col. John Farnham, commanding officer at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar; Mark Arabo, a spokesman for the Iraqi Chaldean community; Cal Fire Battalion Chief Jeff Lannon; and Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon.

Melanie Burkhart, a student at Cuyamaca Community College, stopped to honor victims of September 11, 2001. Photo credit: Chris Stone

At UC San Diego, John Cerda, chairman of the school’s Veterans Association, will join members of the UCSD Police Department in placing a wreath at a commemorative tree on Warren Mall at 8 a.m. They plan to remain at the site until sunset.

The school will also observe a moment of silence at noon, when the bells at Geisel Library will ring a special carillon peal composed by Scott Paulson of UCSD’s art library.

A wreath-laying ceremony is also scheduled for 2:30 p.m. aboard the USS Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum. Mayor Kevin Faulconer is scheduled to speak, and members of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department will participate.

The blood drive for the San Diego Blood Bank will take place at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The first 100 donors will receive a pair of passes to the Haunted Hotel in downtown San Diego or Haunted Trail in Balboa Park. Also, Darren Smith of the Mighty 1090 will host his sports radio show at the museum from noon to 3 p.m.

Names of victims of the 9/11 attacks will be read at Grossmont College in El Cajon beginning at 8 a.m., followed by a remembrance ceremony at 12:30 p.m. The lunchtime event will include remarks by student body President Rafael Navarrete, a former Marine sergeant; college President Sunita Cooke; and Cindy Miles, chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District. The keynote speaker will be Lt. Col. Douglas Luccio, deputy operations officer for the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

More than 60 cadets from San Diego State University’s Army, Navy and Air Force ROTC programs will lower the flag near Hepner Hall to half-staff at 10 a.m., followed by a moment of silence, the sounding of “Taps” and a short prayer.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Cuyamaca College displayed 2,977 flags on its main lawn Thursday in honor of the victims on September 11, 2001. Photo credit: Chris Stone

Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.