VFW, Cape dignitaries recall 9/11
Current and retired police officers, firefighters and military personnel gathered Thursday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8463 in downtown Cape Coral to remember the events of Sept. 11 as more than 50 people showed up to attend the remembrance ceremony.
The Cape Coral Police Department honor guard opened and closed the ceremony with the presentation of the American flag, and in between there were poignant speeches by Cape Coral Mayor Eric Feichthaler and Police Chief Rob Petrovich.
“Our public should be here not only to remember 9/11, but also to remember all the men and women who serve them,” Feichthaler said.
One person who will never forget that day seven years ago is Matthew Camps, an 18-year veteran of the Cape Coral Fire Department.
“I couldn’t begin to start to tell you what it means. I knew a few of the guys,” said Camps, who has family in New York. “Hopefully people don’t forget that we do this every day.”
Retired New York police officer Billy Rock was also in attendance.
“I’m grateful to be present here today. I lost a lot of friends in those buildings,” he said.
Rock was part of the search and rescue teams that looked for survivors around ground zero in the aftermath of the attacks.
John Paccione, a retired detective with the NYPD, said Sept. 11 is a difficult day for him.
“It’s a hard day because everyone up there lost somebody from the neighborhood,” said Paccione, who moved to the Cape two years ago.
Albert Arroyo, another NYPD veteran, was working in Manhattan the morning of Sept. 11. His group actually gathered at the World Trade Center at 3 a.m. before leaving to transport prisoners.
“I was headed to the Bronx when the first tower was hit,” Arroyo said.
Ken Corr, commander for the VFW post, said the events of Sept. 11 will define these times.
“9/11 is our generation’s Pearl Harbor. That’s our day of infamy,” Corr said.
Corr held back tears, though, later in his speech.
“I remember some of the names on that flag, so it’s kind of hard,” he said, referring to an American flag with the names of firefighters and police officers who died during the terrorist attacks.