South Floridians mark 17th anniversary of 9/11 in solemn ceremonies

SOUTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - It was a day dedicated to honor and remembrance, as the nation remembered the lives lost on Sept. 11 back in 2001, and South Florida was no exception.

Part of the 9/11 ceremony of remembrance at Tropical Park in Southwest Miami-Dade, Tuesday, included a roll call of honor: a reading of the name of every police officer and firefighter who lost their life trying to save others.

“We want to recognize the courage that was displayed that day by the many firefighters and police officers that ran toward danger,” said Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez, “and of course, remember the lives that were lost that were just doing their job that day.”

“I’ll never forget the outpouring of support we received, the respect that was bestowed on us as public servants,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Dave Downey, who was deployed to Ground Zero on that fateful day.

A similar ceremony took place at Miami City Hall in Coconut Grove, with fire rescue and police coming together to recall, reflect and reaffirm what organizers call the true spirit of 9/11.

“We drill that into our firefighters and our police officers from the first day they step into class,” said City of Miami Fire Rescue Chief Joseph Zahralban. “We let them know that their career is all about sacrifice, and one day, we and citizens may call upon them to lay it all on the line to save lives, and they have to be willing and ready to do that.”

Travelers at Miami International Airport were also able to pause with a moment of silence, as they also noticed and reacted to the security around them.

“It’s probably a little bit more safer,” said traveler Burl Cole. “I think if somebody were going to do something, they maybe would think twice on this day.”

“It makes you feel sad what happened, but I think the world is changing,” said another traveler. “Everywhere in the world, every country is making changes on their security, so it’s necessary.”

At Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport, the Broward County Aviation Department hosted the Will Never Forget commemoration.

And Western High School in Davie paid homage to the thousands of lives lost 17 years ago. Students welcomed local firefighters and police to the campus, continuing their tradition of coming together at the student-constructed memorial.

“The attacks of September 11th were intended to break our spirit. Instead, we have emerged stronger and more united,” said Jimmy Arrojo, the school’s principal.

First responders at the Tropical Park ceremony said it is very personal for them. Many said they either responded to Ground Zero on Sept. 11, lost someone they worked with, or both.

Copyright 2018 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.