A retired New York Police Department sergeant will be the featured speaker when the Clermont Fire and Police departments honor the men and women who lost their lives in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The city’s annual 9/11 Memorial Ceremony is scheduled for 10am Monday, Sept. 11, at the Clermont Performing Arts Center, 3700 S. Highway 27. This solemn event is free and open to the public, and Sonny’s Restaurant of Clermont is catering the ceremony, a news release states.
Clermont is one of the few cities in Central Florida that continues to honor the memories of the innocent victims and heroic first responders who perished in the attacks. Both the fire and police departments have 9/11 memorials made from part of the wreckage from the Twin Towers.
Retired Sgt. Nancy Rosado will share her stories related to the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and the thwarted attack on the Capitol. She has more than 35 years of combined professional experience in mental health care, law enforcement, community affairs, workforce development, and training, the release states.
The Clermont Fire Department also will make a brief presentation in remembrance of the lives lost that day.
“The Clermont Police Department encourages everyone to come out in remembrance of those that made the ultimate sacrifice that tragic day, and those responders that have since passed from exposure to the dangerous toxins at ground zero over the following days and months,” Police Chief Charles Broadway says in the release.
The police chief is from New York City, and was one of the first responders when he was a detective with the NYPD. He stayed in touch with many of the first responders who died afterward from health problems incurred during the rescue efforts.
Many Clermont retirees from New York City knew people who died in the towers. Clermont Mayor Gail Ash also is from New York City, and watched on TV in Clermont as events unfolded.
“I was very concerned, since my nephew is an EMT and was part of an ambulance corps in Queens,” Gail says in the release. “I was able to get in touch with him and found out that he had not responded to the towers. One of his ambulances did respond. One of their men was seen pushing a man in a wheelchair, away from the towers. Sadly, he was never seen again. His ambulance that was at the scene was completely destroyed when the towers fell.
“Having grown up in New York and attended college in Manhattan, I couldn’t believe what I saw happening when the first tower was hit. As the minutes went by, and the second and third planes hit, absolute dismay took over. And then came the news about the fourth plane being brought down before it reached its destination, by the passengers on board,” the mayor continues.
“Along with everyone else in our country, I couldn’t turn away from the television. I wondered, ‘How could this be happening? Why was this happening? Who would do this to our country?’” she says.
“Knowing my own amazement and disbelief, I couldn’t imagine what it was like to be in the midst of all that chaos and destruction,” Gail says. “When the towers fell, I knew that hundreds, if not thousands, of people had been lost. What a tragedy!”