Contact: Joe Vargo, Perris Public Information Officer
Phone: 951-956-2120
jvargo@cityofperris.org

Perris Remembers 9/11

Perris Mayor Daryl Busch reads a proclamation in support of Patriot Day. The Mayor urged residents to never forget those who died on Sept. 11
Perris Mayor Daryl Busch reads a proclamation in support of Patriot Day. The Mayor urged residents to never forget those who died on Sept. 11.

More than 100 people gathered Sunday to attend a ceremony of remembrance of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at Perris American Legion Post 595.

The City of Perris worked with the American Legion and Perris Valley Chamber of Commerce on the “Patriot Day“ remembrance, which featured patriotic remarks and songs, a rifle salute, playing of taps and the tolling of a bell to commemorate those lost on the day 10 years ago that war came to American soil.

The 10th anniversary day of remembrance marked the first time Perris marked the attacks in New York, Washington D.C. and Pennsylvania. Event organizers say they want Patriot’s Day to become an annual event.

“This is a special day that means a lot to a lot of people for a lot of reasons,” Perris Mayor Daryl Busch said. “It’s really hard to express yourself. It’s a day that brings a lot of memories for everyone in our country. The event we held today featured a great program and turnout. It was held for all the right reasons.”

American Legion Post 595 member Iral Evans strikes a bell to honor firefighters killed in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks
American Legion Post 595 member Iral Evans strikes a bell to honor firefighters killed in the line of duty during the terrorist attacks.

The Mayor read a proclamation urging residents to remember the “unprovoked attacks that thrust the U.S. and other countries into a way they never expected.” The proclamation reminds people to “never forget that those innocent victims did not die in vain” and that the “deaths of these people will always be remembered and that they will be forever loved.”

The proclamation concludes with the sentiment that “the citizens of the City of Perris remember with eternal respect those whose lives were suddenly, without cause, and pointlessly taken from them on Sept. 11, 2001. May they forever rest in peace and abide in our memories.”

Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans, who served in the Marines and is a retired firefighter, served as emcee during the event. Evans grew up in New York and was very familiar with the area around the World Trade Center. Following the attacks there, firefighters based in Perris were dispatched to Ground Zero in a desperate search to locate the trapped and injured.

A bugler played taps during the ceremony at American Legion Post 595 in Perris, which drew more than 100 people
A bugler played taps during the ceremony at American Legion Post 595 in Perris, which drew more than 100 people.

“It was a very difficult day for all of us,” she said.

The nearly 3,000 people killed on Sept. 11 included 343 firefighters.

Evans said that in the days before electronic communications, the death of a firefighter would be signaled by the striking a firehouse bell five times, repeated three times in succession. In that way, firefighters throughout an entire community would learn quickly of a loss of a comrade. The tradition became known as “striking the four fives.” The legion bell sounded the four fives to honor those lost on Sept. 11.

Post commander Bernie Foley said he will never forget Sept. 11. He was aboard an airplane at Ontario Airport bound for a cross-country trip when word of the attacks became known. The plane returned to the gate, the passengers disembarked at the airport was evacuated.

“We must never forget the worst terrorist attacks we’ve ever suffered in this country,” Foley said. “I am really proud and pleased at the number of people who attended our event. It was a great event.”

Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans, a retired firefighter, emceed the Patriot Day remembrance in Perris
Perris Mayor Pro-Tem Joanne Evans, a retired firefighter, emceed the Patriot Day remembrance in Perris.

Jim Bieger, First Vice-Commander of Post 595, praised the military for its commitment to protecting Americans and America. The post recognized 19 Perris residents serving today.

“We all felt it was our duty to organize this event,” Beiger said. “As a free people, we must never forget and remain committed to wiping out terrorism. We must remain committed to those men and women who go into harm’s way.”

Post 595 provided free breakfasts for all police and firefighters. A trio of firefighters from Station 1 in Perris took part in the ceremony, but arrived late. They had responded to a call for service and missed the opening of the ceremony.

Firefighter/paramedic Steve Foley addressed the crowd, explaining that the anniversary is “obviously a solemn day for the fire department, American citizens and the nation as a whole.” Despite the grievous loss of firefighters, Foley said those who serve today remain committed to providing the best public safety.

Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers, Public Safety Commissioner Shawn Haughney and City Clerk Judy Haughney recite the Pledge of Allegiance
Perris City Councilwoman Rita Rogers, Public Safety Commissioner Shawn Haughney and City Clerk Judy Haughney recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

“We love serving you,” he said. “We love putting ourselves out for you. We will continue to do so.”

Perris City Clerk Judy Haughney and City Council woman Rita Rogers and City Councilman Mark Yarbrough were among elected representatives taking part in Patriot’s Day 2011. Rogers, a native New Yorker, said Sept. 11 was a “day that changed us all.” She said four members of her family were in the World Trade Center at the time of the attacks. All survived. A brother-in-law, who works as minister, conducted 30 funerals of victims in the six weeks after the attacks.

“Today is definitely a day for all us to reflect,” Rogers said.

Despite the tragedy of that day, Rogers said Americans supported each other in the weeks following the attack.

“Despite every crisis, the resolve of the American people can never be broken,” she said.

Yarbrough said the continuing war on terror is deeply personal for him. His twins, Andrea and Schuyler, are serving in the military. Andrea Yarbrough is with the Army in Korea; Schuyler is based at Camp Pendleton with the Marines.

Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough (right) with his wife, Shelly; mother, Maria Macias and brother, Larry Yarbrough.Caption for image 063
Perris City Councilman Mark Yarbrough (right) with his wife, Shelly; mother, Maria Macias and brother, Larry Yarbrough.Caption for image 063 Members of the Post 595 included a wreath-laying as part of the ceremony.

“We must always remember,” he said.

Yarbrough said serving in the military symbolizes great sacrifice. He said as n American, he is filled with pride that his children wear military uniforms. As a dad, he is worried.

“I am proud and humbled by the commitment to serve but I also worry about them and where that commitment may lead them,” he said.

Yarbrough said he appreciates the services also performed by public safety officers and firefighters.

“We celebrate your service and sacrifice today but we remember it every day,” he said. “Let us never lose sight of the fact that it is people like you who stand on the wall looking into the night with watchful eyes that keep us all safe.”