VERO BEACH — As droplets of perspiration mingled with tears, the crowd that had gathered on Memorial Island early Saturday morning remembered and honored those who died as a result of the four terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Attendance was down slightly from past years, with many anticipating a greater turnout at the Commemorative Observance Ceremony at Riverside Theatre at 7 p.m. this evening. Indian River Fire Rescue Capt. Joe Earman led the proceedings, which began and ended with music provided by the United States Navy Band Southeast, Piper Michael Hyde, and an invocation and benediction by Lew Gwyn of the Trinity Episcopal Church.
Remembering the four heartbreaking attacks of 9/11, Earman stated, “The world and our great nation have now changed forever.”
An Honor Guard of representatives of local law enforcement, fire rescue and fire departments presented and retired the colors, and also participated in a Wreath Laying Ceremony to commemorate those who died.
The guest speaker was Lou Pabon, a construction worker living at the time of 9/11 in New Jersey. Pabon related how he watched as the events of that day unfolded.
“From that moment on, my life has changed,” said Pabon, his voice choking with emotion.
He was able to access the site of the tragedy at the World Trade Center with the help of a firefighter friend and ended up staying and working at Ground Zero for six months.
Pabon also took hundreds of photos while he worked, many of which will be on display in the lobby of Riverside Theatre during the Commemorative Ceremony tonight. He plans to take the photos to 51 capitals and 50 states so that others may honor the memory of those who perished.
“I will continue to do my part so that people never forget,” said Pabon.
“We stood united to help and united we must stand. Let us stay united and never forget. God bless you all.”