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FGCU Students Hold 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony

John Davis, WGCU

Florida Gulf Coast University students, staff, local law enforcement officers and other first responders participated in a remembrance ceremony Monday afternoon at the school’s main campus in Estero in recognition of the 15-year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.

Officers with the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and first responders with the San Carlos Park Fire Department were in attendance.  Members of FGCU’s student government put on the event and the crowd swelled to more than 70 people as first responders and others shared their personal remembrances and testimonials from that tragic day, including Lee County Sheriff’s Office Captain Carmine Marceno who was a New York City Police officer the day of the terrorist attacks.

“Being from New York, obviously it hits home directly having family and friends directly affected by the incident,” said Capt. Marceno.  “Losing one of my closes friends growing up, so it makes you never forget what that day means, ever.”

FGCU student Victoria Clayton was just a preschooler the day of the Sept. 11 attacks, but read a poem she wrote at the ceremony intended to capture what Americans experienced on that tragic day 15 years ago.

“A lot of my poetry, I just like to do a lot of research on different events and kind of put myself in the perspective of what they were feeling at the time,” said Clayton. 

“That’s what I like to base my poetry on.  I might not have experienced 9/11 as that individual that went through it did, but I was able to incorporate some of their feelings and the things they went through in it.”

Capt. Marceno said he’s encouraged to see a generation of students who were too young to have formed vivid memories from Sept. 11, 2001, coming together to honor first responders and to remember the nearly 3,000 people who were killed in the attacks.

“From Fire, EMS, law enforcement, everybody that was running towards that burning building or towards that emergency incident, for them to recognize that today is a great thing and how no one ever forgets,” said Marceno.

The event marks the second 9/11 anniversary ceremony organized by FGCU’s student government, and student government Director of Governmental Relations, Wade Henry said they plan to make it an annual occurrence.