Lakeland First Responders Remember 9/11 Victims

Lakeland firefighters, police and other first responders gathered at the city’s Global War on Terrorism Memorial at Veterans Park this morning for a somber, 12-minute ceremony to honor the more than 3,000 people who died in the 9/11/01 attacks.

Several city commissioners who attended noted that in the age of the coronavirus, it was the first in-person event the city has hosted since a June 29 forum on race relations at the RP Funding Center.

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Highlights included a ceremonial bell ringing in memory of the 343 firefighters who died on the day of the attacks and a bugler playing “Taps” in memory of the 72 police officers who perished that day.

Fire Chief Douglas E. Riley rang a large silver bell in four series of five tones. Assistant Chief Rick Hartzog explained the series of tones signals a fallen firefighter and is said to date to the use of the bell pattern by the New York Fire Department in 1865 to announce the death of President Lincoln.

In addition to Riley and Hartzog, other speakers included Police Chief Ruben Garcia and Deputy City Manager Shawn Sherrouse, who will become interim city manager following the retirement of City Manager Tony Delgado on Sept. 26.

The ceremony began at 8:46 a.m., marking the time American Airlines Flight 11 struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, the first of four attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. It also included a one-minute moment of silence.