The Coast News Group
NewsOld - DO NOT USE - The Coast NewsRancho Santa Fe

Locals offer thanks at 9/11 memorial

VISTA — Patriot Day was honored with a remembrance ceremony on Sept. 11 and a family barbecue on Sept. 12 at Faith Lutheran Church.
The two-day event remembered those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S., more than 6,000 U.S. troops who gave their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and those who are still fighting.
“It’s to remember we have people dying every day,” Dick Dinse, retired U.S. Marine Corps master sergeant and event organizer, said. “There are kids in the eighth grade now who will be fighting this war in six to eight years.”
The U.S. currently holds an offensive position in Afghanistan and secondary position in Iraq that continue to put troops in harm’s way.
“It’s not getting any prettier,” Dinse said. “The wounded will be carrying wounds the rest of their lives. It’s important to support them.”
The day thanked military men and women for their ongoing efforts.
“The military really counts on the church’s prayers and care packages,” Capt. Ollis Jon Mozon Jr., U.S. Navy chaplain serving Camp Pendleton, said.
Prayers, food and fun activities for kids took place on Sept. 12.
There was face painting, pony cart rides, a giant inflatable slide, and a chance to try on bomb squad gear and aim a rifle.
A military arms displays helped kids learn more about the jobs of their moms and dads who serve our country. Eleni Mowery, 7, of Camp Pendleton, stepped up to hold and aim a rifle.
“She shot her first rifle this summer,” Lt. Col. Matthew Mowery said. “Our family has a house in the country. I think it’s her way of connecting with me.”
Remembrance of troops continued on Sept. 12, with keynote and guest speakers and a moment of silence for U.S. Marine Maj. James Weis, 38, who gave his life July 22, and left behind a wife and two young sons.
Chaplain Eric Erickkimen, retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel currently serving LCMS World Mission Ministry to the Armed Forces, was called to Ground Zero shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks to help with search and recovery efforts. “There was no more search and rescue, it was search and recovery,” Erickkimen said.
Erickkimen’s job was to notify families when the remains of their loved ones were found. He remembers speaking with the husband of Amelia Fields and finding out it was her birthday. Her husband said he had let her go to work and was planning to surprise her that afternoon, but she never came home.
“It was a very hectic two weeks,” Erickkimen said. “The people who recovered quickest were grounded in faith.”