Published: Sep 11, 2012 1:54 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 11, 2012 4:44 PM EDT

GOLDEN GATE, Fla.- A ceremony in Golden Gate this morning honored the victims of the September 11th attacks.

The message that spanned across generations was "never forget."

Colonel Paul Garrah, JROTC instructor at Golden Gate High School, lead the ceremony.

He spoke about what this day means to our country, and to him personally.

He says, "for me this is a tough day, because I served in the Pentagon until 3 months before the planes hit. I lost some friends at the Pentagon and in fact we bring our students back every year to visit Washington and we go through the Pentagon and it's really tough to have those memories come back."

He says he was in Mexico City when the attack happened, and events like this can help his students and younger generations keep history fresh on their minds. "They see the emotion that I have and others, it hits home to them. There's no way they can get that from a book."

16-year-old Alex Ramos is a member of the JROTC and participated in the ceremony, presenting the colors. He says.  "I knew some people that were in the twin towers when they fell. It was touching to actually be here and actually be a part of the ceremony."

At his young age, he still sees the hope in this tragic day. "Although it was something horrible that happened 11 years ago, I believe that it has made our country stronger. The families that have been broken apart, they've been strengthened by all the people that have supported them, the firefighters that helped, everybody."

Representative from local law enforcement agencies were on hand for the ceremony. The American flag flew high above the crowd and a wreath honored those who lost their lives.

Paula Rogan says she remembers exactly where she was when the attack happened. "It's just so hard to think about all the people we lost," she says. "I think we should never forget what happened, and I think we shouldn't rest until we get everybody who caused it."

Garrah adds, "we're also memorializing all the sacrifices that were made on that day and the sacrafices that are still being made today. There are family members, sons, daughters, that are still grappling with the losses of loved ones that are continuing to this present day. This ceremony is for them, too"

The Golden Gate Civic Association organized the event.