Kissimmee, FL – To honor the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Valencia College’s Osceola Campus holds every year a county-wide memorial service ceremony.
Valencia is once again staging a dramatic display of 2,977 flags on the Kissimmee campus lawn – one flag erected for each of the nearly 3,000 lives lost on that tragic day.
This is the 15th anniversary of the terrorist attacks and the fourth year that the Kissimmee campus has staged the field of flags display, which features the U.S. and international flags, representing the nationalities of the 9/11 victims.
Valencia College will also unveil a piece of steel salvaged from the World Trade Center given to the college by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. The Port Authority program has provided artifacts to 1,500 entities nationwide, in all 50 states and several countries. Across the country, bits of beams that once held up the towers stand outside of fire departments, inside municipal buildings and libraries, in town squares and museums. After the Sept. 12 ceremony, Valencia will display the artifact in the library on the Osceola Campus.
In addition to honoring the victims of 9/11, the Osceola Campus flag display will also serve as the backdrop for Osceola’s county-wide memorial service, which will include participants from the Osceola County’s Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Emergency Services, Kissimmee police and fire departments, and St. Cloud police and fire departments. Lee Massie, managing director of Valencia’s Criminal Justice Institute, and former chief of the Kissimmee police department, will be the keynote speaker.
The Rotary continues to raise money toward a scholarship with the Valencia Foundation to help pay for continuing education for men and women who are currently police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. All money from the Valencia College Family Run/Walk for Heroes, to be held on Sept. 9, will benefit students studying to become first responders.
The Rotary Club of Lake Nona secured sponsors to raise the money to buy the supplies for the flag display. The primary sponsors are Kissimmee Utility Authority (KUA) and Clancy & Theys Construction Company. Other sponsors include Hoagland Electric LLC, Insurance Office of America, Sonu Shukla, CPA, Sweetwater Car Wash, and Williams Company Management Group.
“We feel like this will serve as important recognition for our local emergency responders, as well as a way to honor those who were lost on September 11,” said Michael Valenzuela, president of the Rotary Club of Lake Nona. “Rotary International’s theme this year is ‘Peace Through Service’ and we believe this project will build bridges of friendship and acceptance among our diverse community.”