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How South Florida is paying tribute to 9/11 heroes on 20th anniversary of the attacks

Miami Herald logo Miami Herald 9/11/2021 kalia richardson, Miami Herald

Sept. 11 is a day they will never forget.

A week before the 20th anniversary of the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 100 officers and firefighters gathered at the steps of Miami police headquarters to unveil a vehicle of remembrance.

It was the first of several upcoming tributes in South Florida.

Before uncovering the car — wrapped in red, white and blue, and featuring pictures of first responders rescuing people from the rubble — Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo said he wanted the milestone to be remembered by a united front of first responders.

“We’re always one day away from the next 9/11 and the best way to prevent this type of tragedy is for us to be unified as a people of many colors, many religions, many nations of origins,” Acevedo said.

Miami Police Lt. Robert Valdes started the ceremony recounting the moment American Airlines Flight 11 struck the north tower of the World Trade Center, the first of four attacks that day.

“The event of 9/11 might be fading in our minds, but for those who spend their lives in the service of others, the memories of the terrorist attacks remain fresh,” Valdes said.

A $2,877 check was presented to the Tunnel to Towers Foundation, which honors the military and other first responders who sacrificed lives in the rescues. The money was raised through the sale of a 20th Anniversary 9/11 Remembrance Badge.

Here are some upcoming memorials and ceremonies commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 across South Florida:

Key West

September 11 Remembrance:Join the Key West Firehouse Museum on the 20th anniversary of 9/11, as speakers reflect on the events of that day. There will be a blessing of the new 9/11 artifact, an 8-ton piece of concrete from the World Trade Center, and a bell will be rung at the times of each incident. The event begins Saturday, Sept. 11, at 8:30 a.m. on 1024 Grinnell St.

Sept. 11 observances in Miami-Dade County

Coral Gables

City of Coral Gables Remembrance Ceremony:On Sept. 11, the Coral Gables Fire and Police Department Honor Guard will present colors, conduct a bell toll and perform taps to honor the 2,977 people who died during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Guests will include Vice Mayor Michael Mena, Police Chief Edward J. Hudak Jr. and Fire Chief Marcos De La Rosa. The event will start at 8 a.m. at Fire Station 1, 2151 Salzedo St.


The City of Doral 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony:Doral will host a 20th anniversary commemoration ceremony at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11, with a wreath-laying and moment of reflection. The ceremony will take place in Downtown Doral Park, 8395 NW 53rd St.


Hialeah Fire Department Commemorative Ceremony:The Hialeah Fire Department will mark the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a commemorative ceremony at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 at Fire Station 1, 93 E. Fifth St.

Miami Lakes

Miami Lakes September 11 Remembrance Day:The town of Miami Lakes will plant 2,977 flags at Picnic Park West lawn on Sept. 11 to symbolize each person who died in the terrorist attacks. The ceremony, led by Veterans Committee Chairperson Lt. Colonel Michael Coote, will begin at 8:30 a.m. For information on the 9/11 memorial, contact Veterans Affairs Liaison William Sanchez at

Miami Lakes Community Service Project: Guests can volunteer to mulch trees dedicated to veterans at Picnic Park West, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sept. 11, 15151 NW 82nd Ave. For information, contact Austin at 305-819-7768 or

North Miami

9/11 Memorial Ceremony:Gather together at Griffing Park to watch the presentation of colors, wreath dedication, moment of silence and words from Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime in remembrance of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The event begins at 10 a.m. Sept. 11 at Griffing Park, Northeast 123rd Street and West Dixie Highway.

Pinecrest, Miami-Dade

Archdiocese of Miami Schools 9/11 Services:Schools in the Archdiocese of Miami are commemorating the 20th anniversary of 9/11 through Mass services and donations. Among the events: St. Louis Covenant School, 7270 SW 120th St. in Pinecrest, will host its annual “Tunnel to Towers” run led by firefighters and police officers at 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 10. St. Kevin Catholic School, 4001 SW 127th Ave., will conduct an 8 a.m. outdoor Mass on Sept 10.

Tropical Park, Westchester

9/11 Ceremony of Remembrance:Two-time Grammy Award-winning singer Jon Secada, along with the commander of the U.S. Southern Command, Adm. Craig S. Faller, will be part of the annual Ceremony of Remembrance to honor those who lost their lives during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Hosted by the Miami-Dade Police Department, the ceremony will begin at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 11 at Tropical Park, 7940 SW 40th St. The tribute will include words of reflection and a moment of silence as well as honor local firefighters, police officers and first responders.

20th anniversary of 9/11 in Broward County

Coral Springs

Coral Springs 9/11 20th Anniversary Ceremony: Coral Springs will host a ceremony at the Northwest Regional Library, 3151 N. University Dr. , in front of the 9/11 monument featuring a pathway of remembrance flags along with performances by the Coral Springs Charter School Band and the Coral Springs Fire Department Pipes and Drums. Although the event takes place at 3 p.m. Sept. 11, a wreath will be placed on the monument throughout the weekend for residents to visit as well as view flags in front of city hall. For information, call Gina Orlando at 954-344-1147.


9/11 Memorial Event:Nova Southeastern University will host a memorial ceremony to pay tribute to 9/11 victims, first responders and families at 9 a.m. Sept. 11. Guests can take pictures with the police, fire, military and veteran vehicles and motorcycles on display or visit the nonprofit organizations that aid veterans and law enforcement. The event will take place on the Davie Campus, 3301 College Ave., and visitors are encouraged to bring chairs, blankets and water.


Patriot Day Ceremony:The city of Margate hosts its annual tribute at 9 a.m. Sept. 11 at Firefighters Park, 2500 Rock Island Road, with special remarks from Fire Chief Roberto Lorenzo, EMS Division Chief Luis Villar, FDNY retirees, along with other officials. There will be a presentation of colors, a firefighter’s prayer and the station bell 5-5-5, rung five times in three intervals in honor of those who died on 9/11. For information, contact the Margate Fire Department at 954-971-7010.


9/11 Memorial Site Dedication:At 9 a.m. Sept. 11, Mayor Wayne Messam will host a memorial site dedication at Miramar Regional Park, 16801 Miramar Parkway, the “future home of the Miramar 9/11 memorial.”

Pembroke Pines

Pembroke Pines 9/11 Ceremony:On Sept. 11, Pembroke Pines Police and Fire Department Honor Guards will host a presentation of colors along with guest speakers, community leaders and music from school bands and musicians at Memorial Park, 10601 SW City Center Blvd. Guests can tour the sculptures along the park and meet the artists. The event runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed on the Pembroke Pines Facebook page.


City of Sunrise September 11th Remembrance Ceremony: The ceremony will be held Sept. 11 and feature music, a memorial display and a presentation of colors. Sunrise Fire Rescue Chief John McNamara and Sunrise Police Chief Anthony Rosa will speak. The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. outside the Sunrise Civic Center Theatre, 10610 W. Oakland Park Blvd. For information, contact the city of Sunrise at 954-747-4600.

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