LAKEWOOD RANCH — It’s been nearly nine years since two planes crashed into the World Trade Center, and just as long since a group of terrorists hijacked a plane and tried to crash it into the White House.
And although the incidents killed about 3,000 civilians of all nationalities and backgrounds in addition to emergency workers, it is clear they did not defeat the American spirit.
Tim Hyden, training officer for East Manatee Fire Rescue, is working to make sure East County residents not only remember the event that transpired but also its aftermath.
“We never want to forget the tragedy of 9/11, which of course is what caused this to come to the forefront — the loss of life,” Hyden said. “But it’s important to realize the days immediately after — the way it drew the entire country together. It seemed that all the bad was put to the side, and we focused on each other.”
To commemorate the event and foster the same patriotism that unified the nation, Manatee Technical Institute will host the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at 9 a.m., Sept. 10, at its Lakewood Ranch campus, 5520 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
NBA referee and former undercover agent Bob Delaney, who has been visiting with troops in Iraq since 2009, will be the event’s keynote speaker. Hyden also will read excerpts from a proclamation President George W. Bush made Sept. 2, 2002, declaring Sept. 11 as Patriot’s Day. Additionally, representatives of the Florida Highway Patrol, Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, Manatee County Emergency Services and East Manatee Fire Rescue will place remembrance tokens in front of the flagpole to symbolize lives lost. A child also will present a remembrance item down in honor of civilians lost in the tragedy, and the U.S. Coast Guard will conduct a flyover at 9:30 a.m.
“It wasn’t just the fire service that lost people that day,” Hyden said.
This year’s format will bring a more public and more formal atmosphere to the event, which is now in its fourth year. But Hyden said he hopes the changes will remind people to focus on the good that came out of something so horrible.
“Sept. 11 is a great platform to teach future generations about patriotism, freedom and all of the good things in this country we don’t want to lose,” Hyden said.
The first ceremony conducted by East Manatee Fire Rescue was held four years ago at MTI’s East campus at the suggestion of MTI’s administration. During the next two years, the ceremony grew, incorporating firefighters and other emergency response teams in a reenactment of rescue efforts at the MTI campus.
“We realized it’s very difficult for people to understand what’s going on,” Hyden said. “To us, it’s stuff we do (every day).”
But this year, Hyden said, he wanted to emphasize the patriotic spirit and unity that arose in the nation in the day’s following the attack.
“I thought, let’s do something different,” Hyden said. “We’re going to go a little more formal this year, and it’ll be a little more public because of that.”
A separate remembrance ceremony is being planned in Palmetto for the morning of Sept. 11. (See related sidebar).
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
9/11 Remembrance Ceremony
WHEN: 9 a.m., Sept. 10
WHERE: MTI East Campus, 5520 Lakewood Ranch Blvd.
DETAILS: Presentation of colors, speech by Bob Delaney, remembrance ceremony and a flyover by the U.S. Coast Guard
Ground Zero Flag Presentation
WHEN: 8:15 a.m., Sept. 11
WHERE: Palmetto Historical Park, 515 10th Ave. W., Palmetto
DETAILS: The Post 911 Foundation and Thunder Rolls organizations will hold a ceremony and Ground Zero U.S. flag presentation to the city of Palmetto. The Post 911 Foundation will fly just more than a dozen U.S. flags at the Ground Zero site as part of a nationwide Follow the Flag campaign to promote awareness and appreciation of the nation’s protectors and defenders.
WHEN: Through Sept. 30
WHERE: Chiropractor at Hornback Chiropractic and Wellness, 11023 Gatewood Drive, Suite 101, Lakewood Ranch
DETAILS: In honor of 9/11 and Labor Day, Dr. Cindy Hornback is collecting items and/or cash donations to send to our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Donors will receive a complete spinal/nerve exam, including X-rays.