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Rancho Santa Margarita Remembers 9/11

Patriot Day gave the City an opportunity to honor first responders, its adopted 2/5 Marines, and victims of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

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."

Martin Henderson September 12, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Totally uncalled for remark, especially coming from someone not using his real name and not stating justifiable reasons. Sounds to me like sniper fire from a troll. For the record, Tom Frost—who LOST HIS DAUGHTER in the 9/11 attacks—has never reached out to Patch to initiate a story. Ever.
Unbiased? September 12, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Martin, our elected councilman Jesse Petrilla who - love him or hate him, is currently is currently serving in harm's way for ALL of us announced days ago that he would be back stateside by the end of this month (much earlier than initially estimated) ... and OUR LOCAL RSM Patch makes no absolutely no mention of it?? or did I miss it?
Martin Henderson September 12, 2012 at 08:26 AM
There has been no formal story in Patch but there was reference to Councilman Petrilla's return in the story about Kenny Hrabik's candidate statement being challenged. The text follows: The Court also indicated that a reference to city councilman Jesse Petrilla "currently fighting in Afghanistan" with the California National Guard, could also remain in the statement even though Petrilla has contacted city manager Jennifer Cervantez and indicated that his tour has been cut short and he will be in attendance at council meetings beginning on Sept. 26. Josephson argued that Petrilla would be back in the states when the candidate statements are mailed to voters. The judge ruled that "there is no certainty that Mr. Petrilla will return home before publication of the candidates' statements; his tour of duty may be extended voluntarily or by order of Mr. Petrilla's superiors."
April Josephson September 12, 2012 at 08:41 PM
Gotta love that there are two new Patch users on this story. One to disparage someone. The second to divert attention from the story to generate press for a politician.
Kristen Clements September 12, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Martin, Thank you for the beautiful video of the Patriot Day's ceremony. I think you captured everything and it truly was an emotional day. My Husband, Jim Clements was so surprised by the award, That this video made for a good keepsake. Our sincere appreciation to the Patch. Kristen Clements

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