MADERA, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – As we get closer to the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Central Valley is paying tribute.
At Madera Community College firefighters were honored during a special breakfast while students got to hear from an Iraq veteran.
“It just seems like it was the other day, not 20 years ago,” said Madera Community College President, Angel Reyna.
It seems that way for Pastor Rick Jimenez, too, who remembers that fateful day all too well.
“Sept. 11 just happened to be my birthday, also a time that we went from peacetime to wartime,” Jimenez said. “I was also serving in the Marine Corps at that time.”
Jimenez became a drill sergeant that day, training those who would head out to Iraq for years to come.
“The majority of the people that we saw fight over the last 20 years over this drawn-out war weren’t 30 or 40-year-olds, but they were 19-21-year-olds. It was this young generation of Americans.”
On the 20th anniversary, Pastor Jimenez now speaks to today’s young generation at Madera Community College to remind them of the legacy of 9/11.
“Although it was a day of tragedy and a day of loss, it showed that our country is capable of uniting and bonding and being compassionate and selfless towards one another to achieve that common goal.”
“No matter where we were on that tragic day, we all have a shared story and a shared commitment to never forget,” said college president Reyna.
As Sept. 11, 2021, draws near, the community college also commemorated local firefighters and their counterparts who sacrificed their lives.
“Our time today honors the nearly 3,000 people who died on 9/11,” Reyna said. “As well as anyone impacted over the last 20 years.”
“9/11, it really woke up the fighting spirit of the American,” Jimenez said. “I just wanna encourage these students today that this is the legacy that has been left to them.”