Manatee County was awash today with 9-11 tributes, with the same strong theme of "Never Forget." But eight years later, the wounds of grieving aren't as raw, and the images and recognitions have broadened to include far more about the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.
The Herald's reporters, editors and photographers covered events throughout the day, from the morning's remembrance service at Rossi Park, with its symbolic release of 40 white doves, patriotic song, and firefighters, police officers and soldiers standing shoulder-to-shoulder, through this evening's motorcycle parade.
At lunch, we were honored to again gather in Bradenton City Centre for the Tribute to Heroes. Henry Sheffield, from Florida State Fire College, framed the day well: It's all about "keeping the honor of sacrifice alive." And keynote speaker Brigadier General Xavier Lobeto, in an examination of sacrifice throughout U.S. history, saluted "selfless service" and "dedication to duty." Look for Vin Mannix's full story in Saturday's editions.
We also should never forget how many civilians, how many citizens of the world, were killed that day. I know I will never get used to seeing the stark image of the second plane hitting the second tower in New York at 9:03 a.m. But there's a stronger sense of moving forward, of a multitude of ways to make the world safer. Laurie Feagans, chief of Manatee Emergency Management, used the occasion to urge family and business preparedness in the face of crises -- including disaster plans for hurricanes.
"We are bound together by integrity and trust," Lobeto said. We should remember this far beyond today's ceremonies.