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9/11 Virtual Ceremony

Palm Harbor
Friday, September 11 at 10:00 am

Due to the COVID 19 virus, The Palm Harbor 9/11 Memorial Ceremony will be presented online this year.  A special pre-recorded 9/11 Memorial ceremony video will be released on Friday, September 11th at 10:00 on and CurlewHills’ Facebook page.  The virtual ceremony will include a keynote address from Florida CFO Jimmy Petronis and 9/11 survivor Greg Amira. For your convenience, the video will remain viewable online following its initial airing. There will be NO CEREMONY ONSITE ON SEPTEMBER 11TH AT CURLEW HILLS.

Our annual 9/11 ceremony gathering at Curlew Hills Memory Gardens typically attracts about 2000 audience members.   To ensure the safety and health of the attendees and participants of this event, the 9/11 volunteer committee decided they could not safely hold the traditional in-person ceremony. But committee members have worked hard to ensure that this virtual ceremony will be equally as meaningful as the in-person service.

The 9/11 Virtual Ceremony will include:

  •  Emcee John Wilson (formerly with FOX 13 News)
  • Welcome - Keenan Knopke, Curlew Hills Memory Gardens President & CEO

  • Keynote Address – Greg Amira, 9/11 Survivor & Rescuer

  • The National Anthem - performed by Sonya Bryson-Kirksey, Retired USAF (National Anthem singer for the Tampa Bay Lightning)
  • An unveiling of a new addition to the 9/11 Memorial
  • The announcement of the 9/11 Essay Contest Winner
  • Rescue & Recovery Memorial Update
  • Invocation & Benediction - Milton Smith, Chaplain, Palm Harbor Fire Rescue
  • Raising & Lowering of Flag to Half Staff in Memoriam
  • Honor Guards – Palm Harbor Fire Rescue & Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office
  • A presentation of colors
  • A lighting of the memorial flame
  • A placing of the memorial wreath
  • Tolling of the bell
  • Keynote Address – Jimmy Petronis, Florida Chief Financial Officer

    Jimmy Patronis is a native Floridian who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Florida State University. He is a partner in a family-owned seafood restaurant called Captain Anderson’s that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017. Following Patronis' college graduation, Governor Lawton Chiles appointed him to the Florida Elections Commission, and he was later reappointed by Governor Jeb Bush. He served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2006 to 2014, representing his hometown region in the Florida Panhandle.
  • Keynote Address – Greg Amira, 9/11 Survivor & Rescuer

    Greg Amira is a seasoned Army veteran and the son of a New York City police officer. He was working at Morgan Stanley on the 73rd floor of tower two in the World Trade Center when the first plane hit on September 11th, 2001. After making it safely outside, Greg did the unthinkable. He ran back into the burning and collapsing World Trade Center.  A second lieutenant in the U.S. Army reserves then, he was trapped beneath rubble twice that day, the second time for five hours after he ran back into the North Tower to help to look for survivors. He survived with injuries, and was injured again years later during active duty in Iraq. While those memories haunt him to this day, his message now is clear: Never forget.  Greg now operates the non-profit Wounded Vets Association, an organization devoted to serving the needs of those who have served, fought and suffered for our freedoms.

  • Rescue & Recovery Memorial Update

    For many people, the battle that began on 9/11 is still going on - not just emotionally, but physically. The death toll of those sickened from rescue and recovery efforts at Ground Zero continues to rise dramatically each year. Nearly 40,000 people are officially diagnosed as sick with numerous more not yet diagnosed. Each September 11th, Curlew Hills updates an onsite permanent memorial which honors the lives lost of rescue & recovery workers since 9/11. Today, this memorial indicates that there are 3457 people who have succumbed to their illnesses related to the 9/11 clean-up efforts.

  • New Memorial Being Unveiled

    Curlew Hills will unveil a new addition to the 9/11 Memorial. Donated by Keynote Speaker Greg Amira (see brief bio above), it is a piece of steel from the World Trade Center that was presented to Greg by The FDNY Fire Family Transportation Foundation on the 10th anniversary of 9/11.  The one-of-a-kind charred beam has the numbers 9/11/01, an image of the Pentagon and the letters WTC torched into the steel.  Greg has held this special piece at his home for the past nine years and has now graciously shared it with Curlew Hills to be permanently displayed at the 9/11 Memorial.

  • Sonya Bryson – National Anthem

    Sonya Bryson is known to many as the woman on the jumbo-tron, singing the National Anthem before the Tampa Bay Lightning games. A now-retired Air Force Sergeant, Sonya moved to Tampa Bay in 2011 from an assignment in South Korea to work on the Macdill Air Force Base. She sang the National Anthem for the first time in public at an Air Force Recruiting Service training conference while stationed in Oklahoma City and has continued to share her very special voice with fans across the country.

To watch the video online, go to our home page on

Friday, September 11 at 10:00 am

9/11 Lights – September 9, 10, 11

In addition to our 9/11 virtual ceremony, Curlew Hills will once again have the memorial light beams shining onsite on September 9, 10 and 11. The huge twin beams of light will shine more than 1000 feet in the sky from 8:00 - 10:00 p.m. in honor of the heroes and victims of 9/11. As a beacon of remembrance, the giant twin beams are in likeness to the two beams of light that have shone each year in New York City following 9-11. It is a magnificent and emotional sight.  There has been controversy whether New York will be shining the beams of light this year due to COVID 19 - but Curlew Hills is unwavering in our commitment to uphold this important tradition locally.