Brian Sheehan now lives in Southwest Florida but 20 years ago, he was a New York City police officer who witnessed a plane crash into the World Trade Center.
“I pointed to the World Trade Center and said that sight will never get old and that’s when the first plane hit,” Sheehan said.
Sheehan was in Brooklyn when it happened, he said. He and his colleagues got to work rescuing people and helping other first responders.
Today, he is the vice president of the Southwest Florida Club of America, a club made up of former NYPD officers. His organization is one of the organizers of the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony that took place in downtown Fort Myers.
Twenty years later, Sheehan said the day doesn’t get easier.
“We’re watching this first plane hit, we’re watching the first tower burn, and we’re still in disarray and we don’t know what’s going on,” Sheehan said. “Shortly after here comes the second plane. At that point, we knew that we were being attacked on our American soil.”
Sheehan said he wants people to remember the 3,000 lives lost that day.
“It really made me angry but you didn’t have time to sit there and start punching holes in the walls, you had to get down there and do it,” Sheehan said. “We were all in the same boat. Everybody felt the same.”
Tracy McMillion, Fort Myers fire chief, helped organize the event at the Caloosa Sound Convention Center.
“You know it was 20 years and 20 years later I think it’s important for everyone to just be able to honor those people’s names,” McMillion said.
McMillion said he hopes people remember how close the nation was during the days following the attacks.
“I think that’s the most important thing,” McMillion said. “Just remember to love each other.”
McMillion also says it’s important to remember how meaningful life is in the shadow of such a dark day in American history.
“Just always remember that life is more than we see day today. There’s so much more to life. And if we could just you know remember to love each other. Remember how it was in the days and the months after 911 and how close a nation we were. I think that’s the most important thing. Just remember to love each other,” McMillion said.