MEXICO CITY – Mexico on Wednesday commemorated victims of two deadly Sept. 19 earthquakes, one in 1985 that left at least 9,500 dead and another just last year that killed more than 360.
Victims' relatives gathered at the site of a seven-story downtown office building that collapsed in last year's magnitude 7.1 quake that killed 228 people in the capital and 141 more in nearby states.
The rubble was long ago cleared, but the building site remained blocked off with plywood. Friends and family of the 49 victims had posted signs with messages of love on the fencing.
One included a photo of a young man named Adrian wearing black-framed glasses. The message promised Adrian some pizzas at a popular restaurant across the street. "We miss you and you will always live in our hearts," the sign said.
Rescuers in hard hats who responded to the emergency that that day appeared with their gear.
Several women wearing black shirts that said "I love you Kari" lit candles and floral wreaths were laid along the sidewalk. A priest dressed in black embraced a woman who sobbed into his embroidered shawl.
Consuelo de Luna, whose son died in the collapse, said "it's difficult."
The city purchased the lot with plans for a permanent memorial, but it has not moved forward. The civic group Mexicans Against Corruption released an investigation this month that revealed that government experts had deemed the office building so unsafe in 1997 that they warned a government agency not to rent offices there. Nothing was done to make the building safe or warn other tenants.
Remembrances were held at other disaster sites across the city as well, including the Enrique Rebsamen elementary school where 37 people died, many of them children.
Mexico City also was also scheduled to hold its annual earthquake drill, with sirens set to blare across the metropolis following a moment of silence for quake victims.
Early Wednesday morning, President Enrique Pena Nieto presided over the raising of a massive Mexican flag to mark the anniversary of the shattering magnitude 8.0 quake of 1985.