Western University of Health Sciences held its annual Sept. 11 memorial ceremony to honor those who died and those who continue to serve in the military, as first responders and as healers.

WesternU Student Government Association President Neal Christopher, DO ’16, gave the invocation and WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD, read a Hebrew prayer of remembrance. The ceremony, organized by the Military Medical Student Association, was held Sept. 11, 2013 on WesternU’s Pomona campus.

Pomona Police Capt. Mike Ellis recited a portion of the mission statement of the National September 11 Memorial: May the lives remembered, the deeds recognized, and the spirit reawakened be eternal beacons, which reaffirm respect for life, strengthen our resolve to preserve freedom, and inspire an end to hatred, ignorance and intolerance.

“Every anniversary that comes and goes is a reminder to us as first responders to remain vigilant in our efforts in ensuring a tragedy of this magnitude never occurs again on American soil,” Ellis said. “May God bless those who were taken from us on Sept. 11, and the families that were left behind.”

Los Angeles County Fire Department Battalion Chief Derek Alkonis said preparing to speak at this event prompted him to reflect back on everyone who lost their lives on Sept. 11.

“It should touch each one of our souls to know that there are people out there that are willing to help,” he said. “They prepared their lives to serve others.”

WesternU students are here because they want to help others, Alkonis said. When the fire department responds to a call and administers care to a patient, they will then bring that patient to the hospital and entrust their care to WesternU’s future healers.

“We depend on you to care for our communities, and for you to show what you know and to administer the best care that you can so our communities can be strong and resilient forever,” he said.

The ceremony closed with a performance of “Taps,” followed by a moment of silence in memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001 and those who gave their lives defending our country.