On Wednesday, September 11, at 8:30 a.m. about 50 people gathered at the entrance to Williams Pier in Gulfport on the shore of Boca Ciega Bay to attend the first official commemoration ceremony of a series of domestic attacks that occurred on the same date in 2001. What is now known as 9/11 is the day when hijackers took over four commercial airline flights to crash them into the two towers of the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, DC and attempt a fourth but unknown target in the northeastern United States. Pictured in the center from the left are Vice Mayor Paul Ray, Regina Buscemi and Laura Dent, all of Gulfport. Dent is originally from New York City and lost loved ones in the 9-11 attacks. In 2018 she started the local remembrance with a small grassroots group; this year, she teamed up with Buscemi, along with the City of Gulfport, to make it an official event. Buscemi and her husband Robert are from Brooklyn and both helped in the aftermath of the New York City attacks. Buscemi said that after the attacks, “the atmosphere in NYC was surreal. The most energetic place in the world became the most solemn. The fast pace of the city where nobody had time to even notice who was walking next to them became one of unity and concern for each other. Everybody was kind and caring. Our whole world changed and, for those of us who were there, nothing will ever be the same.” At 8:46 a.m., the time when the first plane hit the north tower of the WTC, the speakers led a moment of silence as the American flag at the end of the pier was lowered to half-staff. “The most important thing is to teach any child that you have contact with this history,” said Dent.
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