Osceola Campus honors 9/11 victims in remembrance ceremony


Photo Credit: Mike Gramajo / Valencia Voice

Flags covering the Osceola Campus ahead of the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony.

OSCEOLA CAMPUS — Valencia College marked the 12th  anniversary of the September 11 attacks by honoring first responders at their second annual memorial ceremony at the Osceola campus, Wednesday afternoon.

“Remembering key events in our history is important for everyone, not only older Americans, but also our students,” said Jim Smith, the assistant director of the Valencia College Osceola campus.

Although many of Valencia’s students were gathered to participate in honoring first responders, many were too young to fully understand what happened 12 years ago today. Not only was this event was intended to honor first responders, it was also meant to provide Valencia students with knowledge of a very important day that impacted the world.

“I think this is an opportunity to remember those who were lost and to keep the family members, friends and the community of those who were lost on that day, keep them in our thoughts and prayers,” said Kathleen Plinske, the Valencia College president at the Osceola campus.

On September 11, 2001, four sequential attacks were carried out against the United States by terrorists who hijacked and crashed planes into three of America’s most prominent monuments. The first two planes were flown into the World Trade Center towers in downtown Manhattan, causing both buildings to collapse.

“We were up in the Bronx when we saw the planes hit and from that point on we tried to get back down to the site,” said Miguel Ramos, lieutenant of ladder 16 for the Fire Department of New York City, who has been working on the New York City Fire Department for 27 years.

The third plane was crashed into the Pentagon, while the fourth plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers on the plane tried to fight off the hijackers. Their target was Washington, D.C.. All together, the attacks resulted in thousands of deaths including many first responders.

“At that point in time you also saw the unity of the country come together behind one cause,” Ramos added.

Ramos was one of many first responders of the attacks to be honored at Wednesday’s memorial service. The service included appearances by Kissimmee Mayor Jim Swan, Chaplain Peter Zieg of the Kissimmee Fire Department, Dr. Bob Reaves from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Department and Lieutenant Walter Everson from the Osceola County Emergency Services. The guest speaker was Rich Collins, emergency management director from the Osceola County Office of Emergency Management.

“This is a way to make sure that our students have an opportunity to learn about the event and history,” Plinske said. “Also really to try to promote peace and eradicate hatred throughout the world and who better to do that than our future leaders.”