In an annual tradition since 2013, Valencia College will again host its annual Sept. 11 Memorial Service at the Osceola Campus on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the courtyard behind Building 4.
Due to a Hurricane Dorian-forced closure for part of this week, a team of volunteers was not able to erect the 2,977 flags signifying each live lost and their home country that day usually placed on the campus lawn. This year, the college will have a flag display that represents the U.S. and each of the other countries whose citizens were victims of the terrorist attack.
This year’s keynote speaker will be Dr. Joe Richardson, vice president of student affairs at Valencia College, a U.S. Air Force Academy graduate and a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force. The memorial service will include participants from the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, Osceola County Emergency Services, Kissimmee Police and Fire Departments, St. Cloud Police and Fire Departments, the 463rd Composite Squadron Civil Air Patrol, and local retired Fire Department of New York and New York Police Department first responders.
In another annual tradition, Gina Marie Incandela will sing the national anthem and the Osceola County School for the Arts Vocal Ensemble will also perform “God Bless America”and other patriotic songs.
Osceola and Lake Nona campus President Kathleen Plinske said the annual event is important to drive home what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, at a time when most Valencia students were just born – or now not even born.
“That’s why it’s important for us to do this, so that we never forget,” she said.