A small gathering of residents huddled under shade trees at Central Park on Saturday and listened to the City pay homage to emergency first responders and the military on Rancho Santa Margarita's third Patriot Day celebration.
But the City also remembered, once again, , the RSM resident killed on 9/11 as a passenger of United Flight 175. In the audience was Bob Stanton, father of , a Marine who was killed last year in Afghanistan.
It was a solemn occasion, but it provided an opportunity for residents to say thanks to fire personnel, medics and police officers.
Mayor Tony Beall recognized members of the city's adopted 2nd Battalion 5th Marines Regiment who had perished in the past year, Sgt. Wade Wilson, Cpl. Anthony Servin and Lance Cpl. Joshua Witsman.
Beall punctuated the list with the refrain, "We will never forget their sacrifice."
He did the same thing when recalling local residents who died in military action in the wake of 9/11, Stanton and Gunnery Sgt. Stephen Bryson, who died when his tanker plane crashed into a mountain on Jan. 9, 2002.
Tom Frost, father of Lisa, addressed the crowd with a short comment and told of his appreciation for the community that continues to place flowers at his daughter's memorial on the edge of Lago Santa Margarita.
Also recognized for their contributions as first responders were the Orange County Sheriff's Department and the Orange County Fire Authority. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and OCFA Division Chief Rick Robinson accepted recognition on behalf of their departments. The OCSD provided a helicopter fly by to mark the occasion.
Major George "Donnie" Hasseltine represented the 2/5 Marines, who are returning from Afghanistan this week.
"We are grateful for their service," Beall said.
Beall surprised one local resident, though, with a commendation. Jim Clements was acknowledged for his voluntary contribution to Patriot Day festivities. He also plans and executes the city's Flag Day commemoration in which old, torn and tattered American flags are properly retired by fire. He is the keeper of the flag that flies above City Hall.
Given the opportunity to speak and holding his bagpipe, Clement offered a wonderful and extremely brief sentiment as the heat beat down.
"I'll keep this short," Clements said. "The reason I do this is because I'm an American, we're all Americans, and that's what we should do for our community."