9/11: Still Healing, 17 Years Later
Office worker Maria Isabel Rodriguez was in the 90 West Street building in Lower Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, when the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed, about 300 feet away.
Maria was one of two people who died in 90 West Street that day, trapped in an elevator as fiery debris rained down on the 23-story structure. She was 25.
Seventeen years later, her mother, Elsie Rosado, attended Hillsborough County's Patriot Day remembrance at Veterans Memorial Park and Rear Admiral LeRoy Collins, Jr., Veterans Museum on Sept. 11, 2018. Elsie was visiting the area from her home in Central Florida, and felt compelled to attend the solemn ceremony.
"We need to remember," Elsie says. "I wanted to be here. Otherwise, I would be staying home, crying."
She recalls her daughter as a happy person, engaged to be married and days away from her 26th birthday when terrorists struck the World Trade Center buildings in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and commandeered a commercial airplane over Pennsylvania.
- SEE VIDEO of the Remembrance Event
Anthony Abramson also was at the Veterans Memorial Park remembrance. His childhood friend, Daniel Rosetti, was a carpenter working on the 105th floor of the South Tower when one of the terrorists' planes struck. Daniel, too, died that day.
Anthony, a New Jersey transplant to Hillsborough County, recalls receiving a telephone call from his brother about "Danny." Anthony says he attends a memorial event every Sept. 11, "to keep their memories alive."
Father (Col.) Eric Albertson, the guest speaker at Hillsborough County's remembrance ceremony, says Patriot Day events recognize both the tragedy and heroism of Sept. 11. 2001. "There are far more brave men and women out there than we ever were led to realize," says the senior command chaplain at U.S. Central Command, based at MacDill Air Force Base.
More than 400 first responders - firefighters, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics - were among the almost 3,000 people who died in the terrorist attacks, as well as 125 military personnel and civilians at the Pentagon. Thousands more first responders and average citizens put their lives at risk, or on hold, to help in the aftermath. Those actions were not entirely spontaneous. Rather, the chaplain said, they are embedded in American foundations of bravery and service.