‘Don’t ever want to forget’: Crestview holds 9/11 remembrance ceremony

Northwest Florida

CRESTVIEW, Fla. (WKRG) — A 9/11 remembrance ceremony was held Friday in Crestview.

Crestview city leaders, police officers, Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputies, Crestview firefighters and the local residents came out to remember the tragic day 19 years ago.

Leaders and community members read all of the 2,977 names of those who lost their lives that day — humanizing the numbers. It took more than an hour and a half to read all of the names.

“I would ask, why did we do this today? Why did we spend an hour and 45 minutes or close to it doing this?” said Crestview Mayor J.B. Whitten. “It’s because people, we don’t ever want to forget. It’s been 19 years and sometimes it’s so easy to fade it into the memory.“

The mayor’s wife, Ann, said agreed it’s important to never forget.

“I think it’s so important to remember what had happened. It was such a disaster for people,” she said. “I think it’s wonderful that people came out and read all the names.”

Shelby Windham, the commander of the local American Legion in Crestview, said he still remembers what he was doing on Sept. 11, 2001.

“That day, I was actually working at Duke Field here locally,” Windham said. “When it happened, they called me into the room and said, ‘you wouldn’t believe this. You need to see this on TV.’ And we quit working. They closed the base down. We just — it was unbelievable.”

Windham said hearing the names of those who lost their lives puts the tragedy into perspective.

“When you hear the names and realize how many by name, it really sinks in,” he said.

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