PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — The City of Panama City unified the community for a ceremony on the 20th anniversary of the day that impacted the lives of Americans forever.
Community members gathered at the City Hall Saturday morning to remember the first responders and innocent victims of the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.
Panama City Fire Chief David Collier said that day changed his perspective on what it means to be a firefighter.
“I think it changed a lot of lives I think a lot of people went a different direction because of the event and for the fire service as a whole we lost brothers that day and we treat them as family and we’ve never once forgotten what they sacrificed that day and the bravery they showed to the world that day,” Collier said.
The ceremony began with the presentation of colors and remarks from local officials.
Collier said that day brought Americans together like never before.
“I know we’ve spent 20 years defending this nation and trying to defend it as best we can and we have, and there are still some ways to go but as a nation, it brought us together and it made us better for it,” Collier said.
During the ceremony, they had the tolling of the bell to signify the firefighters that lost their lives in the line of duty on 9/11.
Sheriff Tommy Ford said there are many reasons we should never forget that tragic day.
“It’s important to have events like this,” Sheriff Ford said. “You know we talk about never forgetting and there’s a couple of reasons for that. One is for the sacrifice and those that lost their lives on that day and we also have to never forget so conditions don’t become such and something like that won’t happen again.”
The ceremony also included a 21 gun salute and a helicopter flyover.
Sheriff Ford said the fear that came from that day quickly revealed the unity, strength, and bravery of Americans that have been protecting us for the last twenty years.
“It changed our lives here in the United States and I think our first emotion was shock and disbelief that led to fear of what could happen, but then we became united and resolved to bring the fight to the terrorist and we’ve done that for the last 20 years,” Ford said.