SARASOTA COUNTY - A number of services aimed at remembering 9/11 were taking place nationwide and along the Suncoast Wednesday. Two of them were in North Port and Venice.
12 years ago Wednesday, a beam currently on display in Venice helped hold up the north World Trade Center tower. It’s a physical reminder of the tragic events.
In Venice Wednesday morning, guns saluted those who were lost on 9/11.
“It means a lot for us." Venice resident Tom Murphy's son Patrick Sean was on the 97th floor of Tower One. He never came out. Tom says the tributes help. "It's a hard day for us and our families, but we have many friends here and lot of folks we don't know who come out for this."
"Everybody in my firehouse was killed that day." Kevin O'Neill had just retired as a New York firefighter to the Lakewood Ranch area. 27 men in his battalion alone were killed.
He later searched the rubble. "Just the idea that people are remembering, that means a lot to me. So many things have gone by the wayside and say it's time to move on. When you see people doing something like this it does mean a lot."
In North Port, they too refuse to forget. A piece of the World Trade Center there also helps highlight what really matters, says deputy chief Scott Titus. "We try to remind ourselves all the time. I think the most important thing is to be courageous and to remember the importance of family, the importance of friendship, the importance of those who are serving to allow us the freedoms that we have."
Not just those who were lost that day but the more than 6,000 who have died serving since in the name of freedom.
Master Sergeant Rene Marquis is currently stationed in the Special Operations Unit at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. "I have lost many friends in combat since this has started. It's continuing, it will continue."
A day reflecting in these local communities; certainly not lost on most.
"Nobody is going to forget it. If they were alive that day they will always remember."
Certainly one goal is to educate future generations, too. We saw a lot of children who were not even born yet being brought to Wednesday’s events.