On Tuesday, September 11, the City of St. Augustine will continue the annual tradition of holding its Ceremony of Remembrance, a community gathering to remember those who died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Last year, due to the unfortunate timing of Hurricane Irma, the ceremony was canceled. This year’s ceremony is expected to be especially memorable with retired FDNY Firefighter John Westfield offering personal remarks of his own experience on 9/11 as a member of Ladder Company 116, of Queens, NY.
The public is invited and encouraged to participate in the community ceremony which will be held at the St. Augustine Fire Department’s main station, 101 Malaga Street, Tuesday morning, September 11th at 8:30am.
In addition to the traditional ceremony this year, St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles would like to invite anyone who was personally involved or impacted by the events of September 11 to bring their memorabilia to the fire station to share – personal photos, mementos, or artifacts. These personal items will be placed on display inside the fire station prior to the ceremony to be viewed by guests during a public reception immediately following.
The city’s first Ceremony of Remembrance was held just two days after 9/11 and has continued each year on the anniversary of the attack. The 15-minute program will include a presentation of the colors by the St. Augustine Police Department Honor Guard; an invocation by Father Tom Willis, Rector of the Cathedral Basilica of St Augustine; musical presentations by St. Augustine Firefighter Engineer Ed Purtill; and remarks from Firefighter John Westfield, Retired, and St. Augustine Fire Chief Carlos Aviles.
The ceremony will conclude with a minute of silence at 8:45am, timed to coincide with the time the first plane hit the first tower of the World Trade Center in 2001. Then, the Fire Department will conduct the “Striking the Four 5’s” by ringing its historic 1900 Fire Bell in four intervals of five rings each. This is a time-honored tradition signifying the last alarm of a firefighter and will be performed in honor of the firefighters, law enforcement officers, military personnel and civilians who died on 9/11.
To make arrangements to share your personal items, or for more information, call the St. Augustine Fire Department at 904.429.4852. To learn more about the St. Augustine Fire Department, visit their website at www.CityStAugFire.com.