Campus & Community

PBSC and the community gather to pay tribute to 9/11 victims

President Ava L. Parker, J.D., speaking to the crowd at the ceremony.

Palm Beach State College, along with members of community organizations and the military, paused to remember the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks Sept. 8 in a College memorial ceremony titled “Remember the Fallen 9/11” held at its Palm Beach Gardens campus amphitheater.

Narrated by PBSC Student Development Manager Ashton Davis, the event was open to the public and featured moments of silence, facts about the attacks and remarks from PBSC staff and community members including PBSC President Ava L. Parker, J.D., Palm Beach Gardens campus Provost Nikka Coleman-Ferrell, Ed.D., and guest speaker Vincent Morton, PBSC’s criminal justice director.

Parker spoke about the importance of holding events like these not just to remember that day but to teach those who were born after the attacks happened.

“These events are important reminders for students on what unity can look like in the United States,” Parker said. “I’m hoping as students hear this, and in particular those who weren’t born yet, they can not only recognize what happened but also learn that was a time when we set aside our differences and we were all Americans first.”

Adding to Parker’s remarks was Davis, who was on active duty with the U.S. Army when the tragedy happened.

“It’s important that we know it’s possible that the country can come together like this and to keep it in the forefront of our minds,” said Davis, who deployed twice to Iraq after the attacks.

Another member of the U.S. Army at the time of the tragedy was Morton, who was introduced to the crowd by PBSC Palm Beach Gardens Student Government Association President Joe Kleinhenz. That day, Morton was stationed in Fort Myers, Va. as a member of the Army’s drill team.

“It was truly an honor to be part of a ceremony honoring and paying tribute to all those who lost their lives and to all the public safety heroes of 9/11,” Morton said. “It really reminds us to never forget those that sacrificed their lives and always remember how we can unite as a country. There is nothing more admirable than a person who will sacrifice everything today, so that someone else can have a tomorrow.”

Speakers who read facts about the attacks to the crowd included Luis Torres, manager of Veterans Services at PBSC; Tracey Olsen-Oliver, dean of student services at the Palm Beach Gardens campus, Palm Beach Gardens Assistant Chief of Administration Shon Broedell; Palm Beach Gardens Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Cory Bessette; Major Paul Rogers of the Palm Beach Gardens Police Department; and Army Capt. Sammy Firkins. The Palm Beach Gardens High School JROTC Color Guard was also in attendance.

To view more photos from the event, click below.

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