The University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus will remember victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and pay tribute to survivors, first responders and members of the military with two events.
- Tuesday, Sept. 6 at 10 a.m. - USF students, faculty, staff and other volunteers will plant 2,977 American flags — one for each person who died on 9/11 — on the lawn of the Sarasota-Manatee campus courtyard. To volunteer to plant flags, click here.
- Friday, Sept. 9 at 8:15 a.m. - USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus and the Office of Veteran Success will host a remembrance ceremony commemorating the 21st anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The remembrance is free and open to the public.
“It’s important for our nation to remember those who died on 9/11, as well as the courageous efforts of our first responders and military,” said Carlos Moreira, director of campus engagement for veteran success and alumni affairs and one of the ceremony’s organizers. “Our nation owes them a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
The remembrance ceremony will start at 8:15 a.m. An honor guard will raise the flag at the campus’ entrance.
After that, attendees will be directed to the courtyard where the featured speaker will be Peter Abbott, who on Sept. 11, 2001, was executive officer in the Office of the First Deputy Commissioner of the New York Police Department.
Abbott, who later was Sarasota’s police chief for eight years and received a master’s degree from USF, responded to the World Trade Center from his office at nearby police headquarters after the first hijacked airliner was flown into the North Tower.
“As soon as I get there, boom, the second plane,” Abbott said in an interview.
Abbott, who has vivid memories of what he witnessed that day and the weeks afterwards, said he will pay tribute to the police officers, firefighters and other first responders. He said they were heroes "just trying to save people,” regardless of who they were or their backgrounds.
After Abbott retired from the NYPD, in November 2002 he was named chief of the Sarasota Police Department, a position he held until 2010. In 2011, Abbott earned a master’s degree from USF and joined Edward Jones as a financial planner.
The ceremony will also include remarks from USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, patriotic performances by the Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School children’s choir, a moment of silence, a 21-gun-salute and a bugler playing "Taps."
To ask questions about the events, contact Carlos Moreira at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-359-4291.