SARASOTA Fifteen years later, the numbers are still staggering.
A total of 265 people were killed on four passenger airliners that were flown into the two towers of the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a field near Shanksville, Pa., on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, the results of a coordinated terrorist attack.
A total of 2,606 people killed at the World Trade Center.
Another 125 people killed at the Pentagon.
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A combined total between the planes and the buildings of 2,977 dead plus 19 terrorists.
People adopted some of the fallen from 9/11 and they brought up their pictures to tack on the wall. Some were related to the fallen. Some adopted other names for today. A lot of veterans came up and lots of policemen. There were also lots of students. All kinds of people.
The Rev. Kim Corbett, Chaplain, Palmetto Police Department, Patriot Plaza 9/11 event volunteer
A total of 411 emergency workers died. The Fire Department of New York lost 343 firefighters. The New York City Police Department lost 23 officers. The Port Authority Police Department lost 37 officers.
Cantor Fitzgerald, an investment banking firm that occupied the 101st to 105th floors of the North Tower, lost 658 employees.
And just about everyone knows exactly where they were when it happened.
U.S. Rep Vern Buchanan, R-Bradenton, said where he was during an emotional event Sunday in Sarasota.
“I was supposed to meet President Bush, who was visiting an elementary school in Sarasota,” Buchanan said. “The Secret Service told me a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers, but I would still get a few minutes with the president. Then, a second plane hit. It was so surreal. I will always remember that day.”
“Standing With Our Fallen, a 9/11 Fifteen Year Commemoration” drew a reverent crowd of about 2,500 people to Patriot Plaza at Sarasota National Cemetery on an evening with a blue sky that the night’s main speaker Johnny Schroeder, a retired New York City firefighter who was in the World Trade Center after the planes hit, said was exactly like the sky that Tuesday morning.
The Sarasota Ministerial Association, a group of over 60 churches, synagogues and faith-based organizations in Sarasota County, helped organize the event, which featured community prayers by Sarasota Mayor Willie Shaw and Chaplain John Walker of the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office as well as an emotional tolling of a bell by Chief Michael Regnier of the Sarasota Fire Department.
Schroeder got a standing ovation for both his speech and his courage to relive it.
At times Schroeder was very graphic. But, perhaps, he needed to be so people would not forget what happened.
Before Schroeder’s powerful speech and the event itself, The Rev. Kim Corbett, the chaplain of the Palmetto Police Department and a pastor at the Manatee community of Fiesta Grove, helped people build an American flag out of red, white and blue flowers, part of a Fallen Photo Gallery.
She said many cried while placing the flowers.
“People adopted some of the fallen from 9/11, and they brought up their pictures to tack on the gallery,” Corbett said. “Some were related to the fallen. Some adopted names for today. A lot of veterans came up and lots of policemen. There were also lots of students. All kinds of people.”
“I felt the sadness,” Corbett said. “You can tell many people are touched and thankful that we have things like this where they can remember their loved ones or people they care about.”
Corbett also remembers where she was on 9/11. She was working at Palmetto Christian School.
“I was a lunch room helper and teacher’s aide,” Corbett said. “We had a tiny TV that we rarely if ever used. But we turned it on and we watched it unfold while making lunch for the students. We couldn’t believe it.”