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Cape Coral marks 9/11 with remembrance ceremony

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Sep 11, 2020

Cape Coral Fire Chief Ryan Lamb said that many of his latest recruits were either not yet born or too young to remember when the United States was attacked on Sept. 11, 2001.

For those who remember it 19 years later, it is still etched in their minds. People still remember where they were, and what they were doing, when the planes hit the World Trade Center in New York City.

A third plane hit the Pentagon while another crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers took the plane back from the hijackers.

On Friday, the city of Cape Coral held a remembrance ceremony in front of City Hall, featuring moments of silence, prayer, and speeches from city dignitaries.

Mayor Joe Coviello, a native New Yorker, the memories are still vivid all these years later.

“The event went over very well and I hope we can make this a city tradition every year,” Coviello said. “We had the opportunity to go to New York shortly after 9/11 and we saw all the photographs that hung on the fences and buildings and walked in the church that was near the World Trade Center, where there was firefighter equipment laid out on the pews.”

Lamb said the day is especially important for first responders, as 344 firefighters died that day trying to rescue people inside the doomed building.

“We will remember every rescuer who died with honor, every family that lives with grief,” Lamb said. “We will remember the fire and ash and the last phone calls and the funerals.”

Pastor Dennis Gingerich said the day is seared into people’s minds as the 21st Century’s equivalent to Pearl Harbor, but also as a day where ordinary people did extraordinary things.

“The courage of office workers trapped in the skyscrapers phoning home one last time, and the bravery of the Pentagon staff who made it out of the flames and smoke, then ran back in to answer cries for help,” Gingerich said. “We also saw that courage from the passengers aboard Flight 93 who recited the 23rd Psalm and charged the cockpit. We pay tribute to them.”

Dozens of people attended, with nearly everyone wearing masks and social distancing as best they could as a ladder truck raised the American flag while the other three in front of city hall stood at half-staff.

Newlan and Lamb laid a wreath in front of the flags and gave a salute as the National Anthem was sung.

Coviello said that the attack not only brought out the worst in humanity, but also the best.

“We want to remember all the families that got left behind and first responders trying to save lives and the military that responded, and it’s something we should never forget,” Coviello said.