Highlights of the September 11th, 2019 event include:

Keynote Speaker – Patrick Anderson – 9/11 Survivor

Mr. Anderson was in New York for an economic conference and was on the fifth floor of the Marriott Hotel inside World Trade Center Tower 3 when the first jet struck. With only one shoe on, he took his wallet and pocket knife and ran. He was aided by three heroic New York City firefighters who helped him and others find their way down the stairs and outside. During the trek, the second plane crashed. He vividly remembers the sound of the second plane hitting, and the gaping holes in what had been the World Trade Center towers. The firemen guided them across the street to safety before heading back in to save others. They never it made it out alive. Mr. Anderson was so inspired by the bravery of the firefighters and others that day, he started The Michigan Remembers 9-11 Fund, a non-profit organization commemorating the loss of Americans and their heroism on September 11th.

Mark Wilson, Master of Ceremony

Mark Wilson is a beloved news anchor on FOX 13. An Emmy award-winning reporter and anchor with more than 20 years’ worth of experience traveling the world and sharing the stories of the people of the Tampa Bay area, Mark would like to think he learned from the best. His father is former FOX 13 anchor John Wilson.

Sonya Bryson-Kirksey, Retired USAF – Tampa Bay Lightning Anthem Singer will perform the National Anthem

Sonya is the proud singer of the National Anthem at the Tampa Bay Lightning games. Sonya spent two decades in the United States Air Force and retired in 2015.  Since then she has sung the National Anthem over 1,000 times, to include performing for the President of the United States on his visit to MacDill Air Force Base in the fall of 2014.

Twin Light Beams Lighting the Sky

Four days prior to 9-11, (Saturday, Sept 7-Tuesday, Sept 10) Curlew Hills displays two enormous beams of light projected from the memorial site. The giant twin beams shown more than 1000 feet in the sky each evening in likeness to the two beams of light that shined in New York City following 9-11. It is a magnificent and emotional sight. It lights up the night sky and serves a beacon of remembrance.

A 9/11 Student Essay Contest

Students grades 6 – 8 in Pinellas County are invited to participate in an essay writing contest with the theme "How did 9/11 impact the nation?"  The first place winner received $500 and the second place winner received $250.  The first place winner will read his or her essay at the 9/11 ceremony.

A 9-11 Student Art Display

Students in 4th and 5th grade in nearby elementary schools are invited to create artwork based on the theme "What 9-11 Means to Me". Curlew donates $500 to the art department of each participating school. All this original student artwork will be displayed on large boards for everyone to view at the 9/11 Memorial event.  Last year there was approximately 500 pieces of art displayed. Elementary schools participating this year are Curlew Creek, Ozona, Westlake Christian School and Kings Highway.

Facebook Live

In an effort to bring this special event to people everyone, the 9-11 ceremony will be broadcast on Facebook Live.  People from around the world could watch the ceremony as it happens by visiting the Curlew Hills Facebook Page on September 11 at 10 a.m.

Other Event Highlights:

Event Attendance:  Approximately 2000

The 9-11 Program also included: Honor Guards, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office Flyover, U.S. Coast Guard Flyover, Tarpon Springs Leadership Conservatory for the Arts, and Palm Harbor University High School After School Specials.  Master of Ceremonies was well Fox 13 TV News Anchor Mark Wilson. 

This is an outdoor event.  Guests are encouraged to bring sun protection and arrive early to avoid parking delays.

9-11 Monument Overview

Built in 2012, the one-of-a-kind 9/11 Memorial at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens features twisted piece of steel “floating” in the center, 30 tons of American granite as the towers, and a bright eternal flame at its base.  Surrounding the 9/11 memorial itself are large granite monuments with the engraved names of the firefighters who lost their lives at 9/11 – including the K-9 dog who perished that day. Many of the visitors to the 9/11 Memorial take pencil etchings from these monuments. 

Benghazi Monument– On the pathway leading to the 9/11 memorial is a one-of-a-kind memorial dedicated to the four men who lost their lives in the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012 – Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith and two CIA operatives, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former navy seals. It is one of only three memorials in the United States honoring the men in the Benghazi attack.

New Rescue & Recovery Workers Monument – This special and one-of-a-kind monument recognizes the Rescue & Recovery Workers who succumbed to their illness as a result of working rescue and recovery at the 9/11 site. Experts predict that the death toll among those sickened by the toxic dust and ash of Ground Zero will exceed the number of people killed on the day of the 9/11 attacks this year. This permanent memorial honors the firefighters, police officers, construction workers, and volunteers who spent time in the rubble of the World Trade Center in the days or months after the attacks and have since died from illnesses related to their honorable work. Each year, at the 9-11 Memorial Event, Curlew Hills will update the number of people on the memorial.

Memorial Bell – The large, beautiful bell that sits adjacent to the 9/11 Memorial has a significant history. It was originally on the last wooden ladder fire truck in New York City. Donated by retired NYC firefighter Joe Daly, the bell was refurbished and now stands at a place of honor in front of the 9/11 Memorial.  It is used during the ceremony for the Tolling of the Bell.