This Saturday, on the 20th year after what we have come to call 9/11, let us remember.
Not the actions of the those who woke the world to their terrorist agenda with a cowardly act of mass murder.
But the deaths of the innocents who died in New York, in Washington D.C., and in a field in Pennsylvania, many — so many — bravely as they refused to go down without a fight, as they climbed the stairs of the Twin Towers to save others as they had sworn to do when they first donned the gear of a first responder.
Let us remember, too, the more than 800,000 who enlisted and voluntarily served in Operation Enduring Freedom, including the near 2,400 who did not come home from that fight in Afghanistan, the more than 20,000 who returned wounded in the effort to prevent another such attack on American soil.
It would be easy, given the events of the past few weeks, to take a political turn here. Out of respect for those who voluntarily served, those who died, and all the families so touched, we will not. We will instead, remember those who fell, those who served and all those who sacrificed.
Should you also wish to pay tribute, there are a number of remembrance ceremonies set throughout the Cape and all of Lee County that are open to the public on Saturday.
Among the highlights:
Lee County will host a 9/11 Remembrance Event this Saturday, Sept. 11, beginning at 8:30 a.m. at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center, 1375 Monroe St., Fort Myers.
The 90-minute program will include various speakers and an array of agencies and organizations — including law enforcement, fire, public safety and airlines — which will take part in the ceremony to include a national colors presentation, patriotic music and the reading of the names of those who lost their lives in the line of duty.
Doors will open at 7:45 a.m.
The city of Cape Coral and its police and fire departments also will host a 9/11 remembrance ceremony Saturday. The remembrance will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 11 on the lawn in front of City Hall.
The ceremony will include a presentation of colors by the Cape Coral Fire Department and Cape Coral Police Department Honor Guards. Attendees will be invited to stake 2,977 American flags, each with a name of a victim of the attacks to honor their memory and reaffirm that “We Will Never Forget.”
Cape Coral City Hall is at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd.
There will be at least two other events in Cape Coral as well:
The Brotherhood of Heroes Resource Center & Museum will hold a 9/11 remembrance ceremony on Sept. 11 to honor first responders and those who perished in the attacks on the United States. The outdoor ceremony (weather permitting) will run from 10:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. and include various speakers, honor guard and a special video put together by the Brotherhood depicting the events of 9/11.
The Brotherhood of Heroes Resource Center and Museum is at 4522 Del Prado Blvd. S.
American Legion Post 90 will hold its 9/11 memorial remembrance service at the post on Southeast 47th Street at 3 p.m. on Sept. 11.
The remembrance service will include a special honor guard and a 21-gun salute as well as a free dinner, not only for all the military members and veterans who attend, but also for attendees from the general public.
In North Fort Myers, the Shell Factory & Nature Park will host its 9/11 Remembrance event from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the formal ceremony beginning at 12:16 p.m., the time at which our government stopped all planes from flying over America.
The program will include various speakers, taps, honor guard, a commemorative banner and historical timeline.
The Shell Factory is at 16554 N. Cleveland Ave.
CCFD Chief Ryan Lamb summed up the reason for these events well.
“We invite the community to join us as we commemorate the events from 20 years ago and remember those we lost and honor those who with dignity and courage made the ultimate sacrifice to help others,” Chief Lamb said in his invitation for the public to take part.
We will not forget.
Details on these remembrances as well as additional events may be found in today’s Breeze.