In the grand scheme, it wasn’t a big deal — my participation in a ceremony this morning at Rio Hondo College honoring and remembering all of those affected by the horrific events 11 years ago today.

But it was a big deal to me. It was an honor to drive out to Whittier this morning, put on a freshly laundered and pressed Rio Hondo College Police Academy uniform atop a pair of specially shined shoes and join three of my fellow cadets on the campus quad. And represent.

The event was brought to our attention a little more than a week ago. The college’s Associated Student Body leaders had invited any available cadets from the academy to be involved in the event.

My first reaction was rather dismissive.

Then I thought on it harder and it dawned on me what a unique opportunity this was not only to show pride in my academy but to honor those in public safety who laid down their lives on September 11 many doing a job I myself now aspire to.

Some say I’m 20 years too old to chase such a goal. I say to them: watch me. Certainly I am a long hard way from that achievement. There are many push-ups to do, miles to run, shoes to shine, uniforms to press, and all manner of tests and tactics, protocols and procedures to pass and master before I can get to graduation next year, much less then begin to seek employment… probably from some who’ll look at me and say I’m 20 years too old to chase such a goal.

Daunting? Yes. Doable. Yes.

For now, though — for this morning — I didn’t think about all that. Instead I thought about the privilege of standing with my fellow cadets on this day — a student of public service and safety on a day made so sacred by those public servants who we lost.

We marched past a gathered crowd of college students and staff, took our positions of attention, and saluted when we were supposed to, including the full minute of silence at 9:11 a.m. Then when it was over we marched out past the crowd.

Proud.