Three copies of a charcoal rendition of an iconic photograph of firefighters raising the American flag over Ground Zero on Sept. 11, 2001, were donated Tuesday to the city of San Diego.
Chicago-based artist Mark Paul John presented his artwork to Javier Mainar, the chief of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department, in a ceremony at downtown Fire Station 1.
John says he donates his drawings to remind people of what happened 11 years ago.
"We should never forget that day -- that day was a day of unspeakable tragedy," John said. "It burned an imprint on our souls that will never be forgotten."
He said he hopes people can recapture the feeling of the next day, when the country was unified through grief and resolve to rise above the tragedy.
Mainar said he plans to display one copy of John's "exquisite" work in his office, while another will stay at the fire station. The third will go to Mayor Jerry Sanders.
John used charcoal to outline three firefighters and the scene atop the rubble of the World Trade Center towers, but he depicted the flag in red, white and blue.
The attack was a "stark warning of how quickly life could change," Mainar said.
The presentation was one of many that took place around San Diego County to the commemorate 9/11 anniversary:
-- at UC San Diego, a wreath was placed at a tree near the Warren Mall that commemorates the attacks. Billiekai Boughton, chairwoman of the UC San Diego Veterans Association, placed the wreath and planned to remain at the site until sunset;
-- at the University of San Diego, members of the ROTC program sounded "Taps" at the 9/11 Memorial outside the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice at the time each airliner crashed into the World Trade Center towers, adjusted for Pacific Time;
-- at San Diego State University, ROTC cadets from the Army, Navy and Air Force lowered a flag outside Hepner Hall to half-staff. A moment of silence was followed by the playing of "Taps" by a trumpeter from the music department;
-- at Grossmont College, students took a moment for reflection and then wrote their thoughts on cards that were hung on a tree planted at last year's ceremony; and
-- at Cuyamaca College, a ceremony featured members of area fire departments, the armed forces, and students from nearby Steele Canyon and Monte Vista high schools.
Also Tuesday, radio stations XX1090 AM and 102.1 FM hosted the 11th annual Patriots Day Blood Drive at the San Diego Hall of Champions in Balboa Park to benefit the San Diego Blood Bank, and in Balboa Park, a replica of Ground Zero was on display through 9 p.m.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed when four airliners crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Two of the hijackers spent time in San Diego County after entering the United States.
-City News Service