Western University of Health Sciences held a ceremony commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with guest speakers emphasizing the need to honor those who died and those who continue to fight for our freedom.

The event, held Monday, Sept. 12, was organized by WesternU’s Military Medical Student Association. Among the guests were College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific Dean Clinton Adams, DO, and U.S. Navy Lt. John Gibson, a chaplain at Camp Pendleton, who gave the benediction.

Pomona police Cpl. Ryan Rodriguez said he saw a lot of American flags and heard a lot of patriotic sentiments throughout the weekend. He thanked the men and women serving overseas.

“Our soldiers come from different ethnic backgrounds, different cultures, and they all have different beliefs,” Rodriguez said. “They all share the common belief of fighting for our freedom. The No. 1 priority is to get these kids home and to get them back safe.

“Although it’s a very somber occasion, I want you to realize this is a celebration,” he added. “This is a celebration of our nation’s resilience, courage and fortitude. We truly are the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

COMP Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine Edward Barnes, MD, FACP, who served in the U.S. Army for a decade and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom, noted that a common question to ask each other is, “Where were you on Sept. 11?”

Instead, we should focus on the many people who sacrificed their lives and who continue to fight for our freedom, he said. We should remember the people who died in the attacks, the police and firefighters who responded, and those in the armed services who defend us.

“So on this day, I want us all to have faith in the future,” Barnes said. “The future is bright because our country is composed of people like those I’ve mentioned. We should use this time to remember it’s about them.”

WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, said the Sept. 11 attacks resulted in renewed efforts of community building and a heightened sense of social responsibility. A university is not only a place of knowledge and exploration, it’s a center for human understanding, he said.

“As such, it’s an incubator for caring and compassion, and concern for our fellow man,” Pumerantz said. “Therefore, it’s fitting that we hold this memorial on the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks. It’s also fitting that we hold this memorial on a campus where the mission is to educate healers who practice with the passion of an artist and the compassion of a humanist.

“I hope all of you will take a moment today to remember those who perished on that fateful day 10 years ago, and that you’ll be even more determined to live lives of courage, commitment and compassion, not only in your noble callings but in all the things that you do.”