SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - On Saturday, the residents of Surfside will solemnly observe a heartbreaking milestone as they commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Champlain Towers South building collapse, an agonizing event that claimed the lives of 98 people.

In the wake of the devastating collapse, rescue crews from across the nation, and even as far away as Israel, rallied together to aid in the extensive rescue effort. Their tireless commitment to saving lives amidst the rubble was a testament to the resilience and compassion of humanity.

“This is not something that’s going away, even though we’re at the two-year mark,” Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger said. “This is something we continue to live with and is ongoing here in the town, and we’ll continue to put on these events so our neighbors and friends are remembered.”

Recently released findings from federal investigators, following a comprehensive analysis, revealed that the swimming deck that gave way failed to meet the original safety standards.

The disheartening revelation came almost a year after a judge approved a monumental $1 billion settlement for the victims and survivors, seeking to provide some measure of justice and support.

At 10 a.m. on Saturday, Surfside Vice Mayor Jeffrey Rose will lead the ceremony on behalf of the town.

In addition to this event, a symbolic lighting of the torch will be held at 1:22 a.m.

An exhibition will be on display featuring items from the Wall of Hope that was preserved by HistoryMiami from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday.

These memorial services will commence after midnight and continue into Saturday morning, serving as a poignant reminder of the resilience and unity that emerged from the depths of sorrow.

Martin Langesfeld lost his sister Nicole and brother-in-law Luis in the collapse. He said he is upset the new design does not include a memorial for the victims.

“Now, it’s a gravesite,” Langesfeld said. “Ninety-eight people died here, including my sister.”

He and his father placed flowers surrounding the area where the collapse took place.

“First of all, doesn’t feel like a reality, it’s a never-ending nightmare and having to fight for justice, when you would think it’s given to you after such a horrific tragedy,” said Langesfeld.

This catastrophic incident stands as one of the deadliest structure collapses in U.S. history.

“How did it last 40 years up, knowing that it wasn’t up to code?” Langesfeld said. “Why do we have to wait until 98 died to find out that was part of the problem?”

As the community prepares to remember the lives lost and the survivors forever impacted by this tragedy, others are speaking out on the design rendering submitted by Dubai-based developer Damac International to build a 12-story condo where families and loved ones still come to mourn the lives lost.

While the developer has no plans for a memorial, Danzinger said, one will be placed along 88th Street near Collins Avenue. They’ve asked survivors and surviving family members what they would like to see.

“Somewhere to sit and contemplate and remember, if it’s flowing water or a candle, obviously the names to be on the site,” said Danzinger. “These were things that are important that will be incorporated into the design proposals.”

The Surfside community, still grappling with the profound grief of the Champlain Towers South collapse, stands together to honor the memory of those who perished. Through these memorials, they seek solace, strength and a collective commitment to ensuring that such a devastating tragedy never occurs again.

Remembrance also stretched into the city of Miami. The Paramount Miami World Center lit a memorial candle on the building, along with the phrase, “In Memoriam Surfside,” with a montage of flags representing the countries where the Champlain Tower residents came from around the world.

Copyright 2024 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Join our Newsletter for the latest news right to your inbox