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College Students And Military Vets Remember September 11

San Diego Colleges Remember 9/11 on 11th Anniversary

It was a day of reflection and remembrance on college campuses around San Diego. At Grossmont College, students wrote their thoughts on cards and hung them from an olive tree. A moment of silence for victims of September 11 was observed at San Diego State University.

ROTC cadets from the Army, Navy and Air Force stood at attention as the flag on the campus of San Diego's largest university was lowered to half staff. Colleges and universities across the nation marked the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks with memorials, moments of silence and prayers.

"We shed our tears in a common bond of grief for those we loved and lost. We journeyed through a dark valley," Staff Sargent Gregory said with a brief prayer.

Nearly 3,000 people were killed when four airliners crashed into the World Trade Center towers in New York, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field.

Two of the hijackers apparently spent time in San Diego after entering the U.S.

That painful memory from 11 years ago affects people differently depending upon their ages, said Marine Staff Sargent Chris Willis, who recently was accepted into an enlisted commission program at SDSU.

"My Marine officer instructor was asking one of my peers where he was on 9/11 and he was in the second grade," Willis said. "So the effect he feels I'm sure it's strong, but slightly different from me. A lot of the peers that I came through the Marine Corps with joined for the sole purpose to fight the people that caused that."

Willis spent three tours in Iraq.

Marine veteran Jameel Matin said he's studying conflict resolution and getting the word out about a blood drive honoring 9/11 victims.

"So as a peace loving Muslim community we're trying to erase some of the misconceptions that the public may have from 9/11," Matin said.

Kimberly Paul remembers 9/11 like it was yesterday. She was a high school senior and eventually followed her father's footsteps into the Navy, serving four years.

At Grossmont College she joined students who wrote their thoughts on cards and hung them from an olive tree planted a year ago.

"Just because we have different religions and different backgrounds, we can all come together and remember something that changed the face of history. I think we unite more every year just going back and remembering," Paul said as she placed a card with her thoughts on the olive tree.