TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Hundreds of people gathered in downtown Tampa on Friday to honor the heroes, the victims and the survivors of Sept. 11 and the war on terrorism.
It was one of dozens of Sept. 11-related events around Florida scheduled to mark the 10th anniversary of the day that terrorists flew planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and into a field in Pennsylvania. Nearly 3,000 people died in the attacks that day.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, several officials from MacDill Air Force Base and United States Central Command and various local officials attended Friday's noontime ceremony.
Scott's remarks were brief and offered "solemn prayers" to those lost in the attacks.
Admiral Bill McRaven, who is commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command based at MacDill, said the events of Sept. 11, 2001 are linked to other recent events - such as the helicopter crash on Aug. 6 in Afghanistan that killed 38 troops, including Navy SEALS and special forces.
"Yes, we should remember who we lost, but we should never forget what we have," he said. "We have our freedom and that sounds trite, until you meet people that don't have it."
Later in the ceremony, various people - including an Army ranger who was paralyzed while fighting in Afghanistan and a woman who was working in one of the World Trade Center towers when it was hit by the plane - placed wreaths on a long, rusted piece of metal that had been salvaged from the twin towers.
Around the state, people will mark the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Saturday and Sunday other events.
In Brevard County on Friday, volunteers from the county offices will place 2,977 flags commemorating the victims in Viera.
Volunteers from the United States Attorney's Office in Florida will visit four public schools in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties and talk about the value of public service and to help plant gardens.Â
On Sunday morning in Fort Lauderdale, the Broward County Sheriff's Office will hold a Patriot Day Memorial Service. In Miami-Dade, Archbishop Thomas Wenski will be joined by first responders of the city of Miami and from throughout South Florida for a morning Catholic mass.
In Tallahassee, motorcycle riders will escort a steel beam from the World Trade Center to the state capitol.
In Tampa, the Calvary Baptist Church will host a celebration and remembrance with music and speakers at Brighthouse Field.
Also on Sunday, a photograph will be taken of 343 firefighters dressed in full bunker gear at the Vinoy Hotel in downtown St. Petersburg - representing the number of firefighters lost in the 9/11 attacks in New York City.
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