Although Marco Island is 1317 miles away from the City of New York, the memory of September 11th was not far from the hearts and souls of the First Responders here on the island when the 19th Anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks was observed last week.
Three dozen firefighters, EMS and police officers gathered with Marco citizens to pay tribute to those that lost their lives that day during a simple ceremony which included the ceremonial ringing of the bells.
343 firefighters, including Chaplain Mychal Judge and two NYFD Paramedics, 37 police officers of the Port Authority of New York and the New Jersey Police Department, 23 New York City Police Department members, 8 emergency medical technicians and paramedics from private emergency medical services and one patrolman from the New York Fire Patrol lost their lives attempting to save the lives of innocent civilians.
Many First Responders have lost long battles as a result of their injuries and illnesses directly related to the events of that tragic day, as the death toll continues to rise each year.
Of the almost 3000 immediate deaths as a result of the 9/11 attacks, the majority were innocent civilians, as aircraft slammed into the North and South Towers of the Twin Trade Centers, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.
In the two decades following those attacks, another 311 law enforcement personnel, 193 members of the FDNY, 25 EMS members and at least 15 FBI Agents have died from 9/11 related illnesses. It is estimated an additional 2000 civilians have also succumbed to related illnesses.
Fire/Rescue Chief Chris Byrne and Police Chief Tracey Frazzano both addressed those assembled as the assembled paid their respects to those that gave their lives on that day and in the days and years following.