Crestview observes 9/11 20th anniversary

‘Solemn and respectful’ events planned

BRIAN HUGHES | Special to the Crestview News Bulletin | USA TODAY NETWORK

CRESTVIEW — The horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001, are etched indelibly in the minds of many residents.

But Crestview Mayor JB Whitten fears that for many others, too young to have witnessed the attacks on America live on television, their significance and the losses incurred that day may be only a lesson from history books.

Dako Morfey (back to camera), an adviser to Mayor JB Whitten on the “Crestview Remembers 9/11” observance, meets recently with Crestview Fire Department firefighters Captain Tony Mosley, Capt. Matt Cunningham, Lt. Paul Wojtowicz and Capt. Corey Winkler to discuss plans for the “Spirits of 9/11” presentation that evening in Crestview.

As the 20th anniversary of 9/11 — as it has simply become known — approaches, he intends to change that perception through meaningful events that will hopefully encourage reflection and remembrance.

Throughout the day on Saturday, Sept. 11, the mayor will host an exhibition of typical first responder vehicles and gear, 9/11 imagery, scrolling lists of the attacks’ nearly 3,000 victims, and panels detailing the history of the attacks.

Previously:Crestview marks nineteenth anniversary of Sept. 11 attacks

Featured will be a dramatic 3 p.m. performance by the Crestview High School Theatre Department of excerpts from the drama “110 Stories,” which share survivors’ sometimes horrifying, sometimes heroic stories from the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and the United Airlines flight that went down in Pennsylvania.

“We want all our citizens to join us in remembering this tragic moment in our nation’s history,” Whitten said. “It had such a shattering impact on America as a whole.”

“That day has had so many repercussions on our country, and on our way of life. It continues to affect us in many ways,” Dako Morfey said to Crestview Area Chamber of Commerce members Thursday morning while announcing the local memorial event.

A New York City firefighter looks up at what remains of the World Trade Center after its collapse during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York.

He is a certified Living History Corps member and adviser for the local 9/11 remembrance ceremony.

The day concludes with a Remembrance Dinner during which Crestview firefighters and police officers will represent fellow first responders who lost their lives at the World Trade Center in an original Crestview dramatic presentation called “Spirits of 9/11.”

“Before we agreed to participate, we wanted assurance from the organizers that this would be a solemn and respectful presentation,” CFD Capt. Corey Winkler said. “At the beginning of our meeting with Mr. Morfey, it was immediately clear to us that our brothers in New York would be respectfully honored and their sacrifices appropriately memorialized. We are honored to participate.”

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K-9 Officer Nate Marler is one of the Crestview Police Department volunteers who will represent a fallen New York Police officer who gave his life in the World Trade Center towers’ collapse. For him, honoring a fellow officer is a matter of respecting the profession.

“It’s our honor to in some small way pay tribute and offer remembrance to the brave men and women who selflessly gave their lives in the service of others,” Marler said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to show our respect and gratitude for their sacrifice.”

Photo by Chief Photographer's Mate Eric J. Tilford U.S. Navy photo A Sept. 17, 2001, aerial view shows only a small portion of the scene where the World Trade Center collapsed following the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in New York City. Surrounding buildings were heavily damaged by the debris and massive force of the falling twin towers.

Tickets for the dinner and “Spirits of 9/11” memorial are $35 per person and are available at City Hall’s Utility Billing windows, and at the Crestview Community Center office, 1446 Commerce Drive, Crestview.

They may also be purchased online at www.downtowncrestview.org/events. There is a $1 service fee for online purchases.

“Our country is so divided in many ways today,” Morfey said. “We hope by experiencing this remembrance here in Crestview, people will feel the spirit of unity that brought the country together after the attacks.”

CRESTVIEW REMEMBERS 9/11

What: Exhibits, Remembrance Dinner marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks

When: exhibits from noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, followed by the 3 p.m. student performance and 6 p.m. dinner.

Where: Crestview Community Center, 1446 Commerce Drive, Crestview

Cost: Exhibits and student performance, free. Dinner and presentation: $35

Details: Community observance marking the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Exhibits of early 2000s public safety vehicles and equipment, educational displays, and 3 p.m. Crestview High School Theatre Department performance of “110 Stories”; Dinner and “Spirits of 9/11” dramatic presentation. $35 tickets available at Crestview City Hall, 198 N. Wilson St., and the Community Center, or online at www.downtowncrestview.org/events. (A $1 service fee is charged for online purchases).