CHARLOTTE COUNTY, FLa. — This weekend marks 20 years since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. Each year, Americans come together on September 11, to remember those who lost their lives on this day. But the COVID-19 pandemic could get in the way of those plans.
Several September 11, remembrance ceremonies are planned this weekend across the country and here in Southwest Florida. But with concerns about a surge in COVID-19 cases, Charlotte County announced they are postponing their remembrance event at William R. Gaines Jr. Veterans Memorial Park.
I spoke to Walter Zalisko, a former Jersey City Police Lieutenant, during 9/11. He says there is no reason to cancel outdoor remembrance events.
"I don't know how their past events were, how large they were. But I doubt that they are going to have more than maybe two hundred people. There really is no reason to cancel such events," he said. "and especially this year, it's the 20th anniversary,"
He says people should take precautions or scale back some events. But he believes all Americans should find a way to remember what happened that day, even if they can't attend an event.
"That event was really dramatic and heartbreaking for a number of reasons. I mean the number of lives lost, the way it changed the way America functions now. I personally lost at least 10 friends in that tragedy," he said. "The port authority police experienced the largest loss of law enforcement officers, next to the New York City Fire Department. People need to remember what happened on that day and who committed that terrorist act."
According to the Centers for Disease Control, anyone who is not vaccinated should wear a mask indoors; it should be worn outdoors in places with a high number of cases.
Here are a few remembrance celebrations happening on Saturday, September 11, in Southwest Florida:
To honor those whose lives were lost and forever changed that day, you are invited to attend our morning of remembrance for quiet prayer and reflection at Naples United Church of Christ. Matthew Sonneborn, principal trumpet for the Naples Philharmonic, will perform "Taps" outside of Gates Chapel commemorating the moment each plane crashed (8:46, 9:03, 9:37, and 10:07 a.m.).
City of Cape Coral
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the Cape Coral Fire department, the City of Cape Coral, and the Cape Coral Police Department will host a remembrance ceremony on the front lawn outside city hall council chambers 1015 Cultural Park Blvd. The cape coral fire department sent this statement:
"The ceremony will include the presentation of colors by the Cape Coral Fire and Police Honor Guards, a moment of silence, an invocation, and remarks from Mayor John Gunter, Police Chief Tony Sizemore, and Fire Chief Ryan Lamb. The ceremony will end with attendees staking 2,977 American flags, each with a name of a victim of the attacks, in the front lawn of city hall to honor their memory and reaffirming that "we will never forget."
The IMAG History & Science Center will commemorate the 20th anniversary of September 11, 2001. The event will feature guest speakers, a dedication of a 9/11 memorial stone sculpture from the World Trade Center, and a 9/11 memorial display at 2000 Cranford Ave, Fort Myers.