All around Redondo Beach on Sunday, community members commemorated the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.
In an afternoon ceremony held outside of , community members joined local police officers, firefighters and government officials for a service honoring those lost during the attacks as well as those who continue to serve the country through public service and the military.
"I don't think any of us will forget that day," remarked Redondo Beach Mayor Mike Gin before reading off the statistics on how many first responders lost their lives at the World Trade Center 10 years ago.
"While our nation may have changed that day, I think the one constant that remains is that the American spirit lives on ... The human spirit lives on," said Gin.
When the World Trade Center towers went down ten years ago, many of today’s high school students were only children. They have known only a world highlighted by increased security, airport patdowns and a lingering sense of threat.
Redondo Union High School student body president Nia Vidal was only six when terrorists struck the United States. Now 16, she spoke to the crowd in front of city hall about her feeling of helplessness on Sept. 11 and the fact that her father could have been aboard one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center towers.
"All I could do on that day was stand and watch my mom weep in the living room," she said, holding back tears of her own.
Later in the evening, a crowd of about 50 people gathered in the fading twilight on the front lawn of Reverend Maitreya Bhagavan Friend's home in Redondo Beach. Holding lit candles and American flags, the group huddled around a memorial dedicated to the military and those killed by terrorism 10 years ago.
In the crowd was former New York City resident Suzy Pelshaw, who lost friends when the twin towers collapsed. Now living in Redondo Beach, Pelshaw said she found it hard to even get off the couch for most of the day.
"I think it is really just still raw," said Pelshaw. "It is a real tough day today. I have been crying all day."
Pelshaw, who graduated from the Fashion Institute of New York, celebrated her college graduation at the top of the World Trade Center; however, she said those memories of the World Trade Center have become scarred.
"The best day of my life, graduating form the best fashion school in the world, is now in my children's social studies books as one of the worst days of my life because [the World Trade Center] is no longer there," she said. "What a dichotomy that is."
Sherry Medina, also a former New Yorker now living in California, attended the candlelight vigil and stressed the need to move forward and heal while still remembering those who were lost in the terrorist attacks.
"You can't let [grief] overwhelm your life because there are so many good things going on," she said. "You have to go forward but never forget."