The unimaginable happened two decades ago: A coordinated string of terrorist attacks against American soil.
The attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, killed 2,997 people and left the entire country reeling. People from Southwest Florida will gather on Saturday, September 11, to commemorate the 20th anniversary.
Here’s a list of ceremonies and other events happening throughout the area. All events are completely free and take places on September 11 (also known by Patriot Day), unless otherwise noted.
If you’re unvaccinated, the CDC recommends wearing a face mask, avoiding mass gatherings and staying at least 6 feet from others. Vaccinated people are also advised to wear masks in public, indoor places in states where COVID cases are surging. You can find more CDC guidelines at bit.ly/3fohmDC.
Events in Naples
Official 20th Anniversary Ceremony of September 11 2001 This brief ceremony starts with a flyover by Air Force veteran and pilot Maj. Jessica Sterns and an invocation/prayer. Then participants have about 90 minutes for a candlelight remembrance. Complementary white luminaries (which are customizable) and flameless candles are available. “candles”They will be placed around the memorial. They’ll stay lit throughout the night. 6:30-8.30 p.m. Seating won’t be available so bring water and chairs. Participants are requested to social disengage. “please practice best CDC guidelines.”Collier County Freedom Memorial Foundation. 1515 Golden Gate Parkway. Naples. 289-6952 or freedommemorialfoundationofnaples.org
2021 9/11 Ride For RespondersTwo Naples rides will be held in honor of first responders to benefit the non-profit Brotherhood Ride. Bicyclists will meet at 7:30 a.m. at Fit & Fuel Café, 819 Vanderbilt Beach Road, and leave at 8 a.m. for a 50-mile ride. Then car drivers meet up at 9 a.m. at the Accanito Garage, 3573 Enterprise Ave., for coffee and doughnuts and then drive to Fit & Fuel Café, where they’ll cheer on the cyclists when they arrive at about 10:45 a.m.. After that, everyone gathers for lunch. Riders can register for free at accanitocapital.com/ride-for-responders-sign-up. Donations are welcome. For more, call 249-5871 or visit accanitocapital.com/events
September 11 Remembrance: Naples Philharmonic trumpet player Matthew Sonneborn will play taps outside of the church chapel four times throughout the morning to commemorate the moment each plane crashed (8:46, 9:03, 9:37, and 10:07 a.m.). Open-chapel events include music, grief counselors, music, open prayer, reflection and lighting a candle in memory of the 9/11 victims. 8:15 to 11:15 a.m. Naples United Church of Christ at 5200 Crayton Road in Naples 261-5469
“We Will Never Forget”This is: The Golden Gate Community marks the occasion with this commemorative service emceed by sheriff’s substation Cmdr. Lt. Neal Bohannon. Include the Golden Gate High School JROTC color guard, a flag raising ceremony, bell ceremony, poetry recital, performance of taps and memorial wreath presentation. Bishop R.L. also invocations and benedictions. Neal of Trinity Community Church of Naples. 10:00 a.m. Limited seating is available, so lawn chairs are recommended. Golden Gate Government Center, 4701 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples.
Fort Myers Events
Remembrance ceremony:For approximately 90 minutes, join first responders and government officials. There will be several agencies and groups participating, including airlines, fire and public safety. The ceremony will include a presentation of national colors, patriotic music, and the reading of names of those who have lost their lives while serving in the line. Elected officials will make brief remarks. 8:30 a.m. Doors will open at 7 :45 a.m. Participants are asked to adhere to CDC guidelines regarding large events. These include social distancing, wearing masks for crowded indoor events, and wearing masks. Caloosa Sound Convention Center at 1374 Monroe St. downtown Fort Myers. 321-7311 or 689-946
IMAG sculpture dedication ceremony Sandra Priest, a St. James City stone sculpture artist from Project 911UP, will dedicate the piece. In addition to the dedication, there will be speakers and a memorial display for 9/11. Priest created the sculpture using a piece from Ground Zero at The World Trade Center’s Slurry Wall. Priest shared this information about the sculpture in a news release. “The experience of seeing and touching this memorial is important to restoring hope and rebuilding our spirits as a people and a nation.”11 a.m. IMAG History and Science Center at 2000 Cranford Ave. in Fort Myers. Theimag.org or 243-0043
Ride to Remember A memorial motorcycle ride with meet-up points in Cape Coral and Naples and the destination of Stu’s Motorcycles in south Fort Myers. Riders will meet at 8:30 am at the Iwo Jima Memorial, Four Mile Cove Ecological Preserve at 2101 S.E. 23rd Terrace, Cape Coral; or at Freedom Park, 1515 Golden Gate Parkway, Naples. The main event at Stu’s is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a motorcycle giveaway, free food, rock group The Chopper Band and live broadcasts from 96K-Rock radio personalities. This event also raises money for the nonprofit Fallen Officers. Presented by 96K-Rock and Stu’s Motorcycles. 96krock.com
Cape Coral Events
9/11 Remembrance Ceremony: The City of Cape Coral marks the occasion with a presentation of colors by honor guards from the city’s fire and police departments and also remarks from Mayor John Gunter, Police Chief Tony Sizemore and Fire Chief Ryan Lamb. In honor of their fallen loved ones, attendees will place 2,977 U.S.Flags with names on them in front of City Hall. “We Will Never Forget.”8:30 a.m. The front yard of Cape Coral City Hall at 1015 Cultural Park Blvd. Cape Coral.
American Legion memorial service American Legion Post 90 will host a memorial service. There will be an honor guard, 21-gun salute, and a free meal for all who attend. American Legion Post 90 1401 S.E., 3:00 p.m. 47th St. Cape Coral. post90swf.org
Never Forget Fest 2020:Memorial Bike Night is a tribute to fallen heroes and begins at 4 p.m. at Ralph’s Place at 1305 Cape Coral Parkway E. Live Music, Vendors, and More! Bad Latitude performs from 6-9 pm and Delta Crossing plays from 9-12 midnight. ralphsplaceofcapecoral.com
Events in Bonita Springs
Open House and Patriots’ DayAn open house will follow the Bonita Springs Fire Control and Rescue District’s ceremony. You can purchase food and drinks. 10 a.m. Bonita Springs fire station 1, 27490 Old 41 Road Bonita Springs. 949-6274, bonitafire.org
Events in North Fort Myers
“Celebration of the American Spirit: We Will Never Forget”This is: Celebrate America’s first responders and also the people who died during the 9/11 attacks. This event includes a remembrance ceremony at 12:16 p.m. (the time the last civilian or commercial plane in U.S. airspace landed on 9/11), a helicopter flyover, taps performed by the Lee County Sheriff’s Office Honor Guard, the touring museum bus from the Southwest Florida Military Museum, the Pure Country Band, NBC news anchor Peter Busch and more. The Nature Park will be open at 11 AM. Seniors, veterans, and first responders are eligible for free admission. The Shell Factory & Nature Park is located at 16554 N. Cleveland Ave. in North Fort Myers. 952-3141 or shellfactory.com
Events on Marco Island
Patriot Day event:Ceremony to recognize military personnel, first responders, and civilians who were killed in the attacks of September 11, 2001. Also, military and first responders who are still working to protect everyone. Marco Island Fire Recue Foundation and Marco Island Police Foundation organized this event. 8 a.m. Aeronasium at Frank E. Mackle community park, 1361 Andalusia terrace, Marco Island 331-0908 or (394-8545
Events in Punta Gorda
9/11 20th anniversary Remembrance Day The Military Heritage Museum offers a tribute for all first responders. The free programs include firsthand testimonials from people who were there during 9/11 and comments from police, fire and sheriff’s office officials (10-11 a.m. in the museum’s Gulf Theater) and a 9/11 remembrance exhibit in the museum atrium (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the museum atrium). The museum admission fee ranges from $9 to $12 (free for first response personnel) and includes the documentary “102 Minutes That Changed America.”Military Heritage Museum at 900 W. Marion Ave. in Punta Gorda. 941-575-9002 or militaryheritagemuseum.org
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