Cape Coral resident Joe DiGregorio remembers 9/11 like it was yesterday. He is a retired New York City firefighter, and lost many loved ones in the terrorist attack.
He also is an organizer of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #8463 9/11 Remembrance Event which will be held Tuesday, Sept. 11, at the local Harney Point VFW, beginning at noon.
He is a member of the Post, which has coordinated this annual event since the first year anniversary of this American tragedy.
He has a special "911 Flag" where an eagle sits where the traditional stars are, and the usual flag stripes.
"I got this 'Remember 911' flag from the local Kiwanis Club about two years ago," he said. "I bought a half dozen of them. I was on the New York City Fire Department for 20 years, retiring in 1977. I was here (Cape Coral) when 911 happened. My son was on the job in New York, a New York City firefighter."
All of the posts units will be involved in the program on Sept.11, he said, including the ladies and mens auxiliaries and their honor guard.
DiGregorio recalls vividly the events of that day, especially from family members who were still there.
"Everyone had to get there, walk or bicycle. I also had a nephew that rode in from Queens. I lost a nephew, and a few of my friends - guys I worked with there - lost their sons."
The local event is open to the public. "Everyone is invited to attend - open doors," DiGregorio said.
It will include the Posting of Colors by both the Post Honor Guard and the Cape Coral Fire Department Honor Guard. "Our chaplain Anthony Alfano from the post will do the invocation and 'Amazing Grace' will be sung by Bob Mullaney of our Honor Guard."
Cape Coral Mayor John Sullivan will appear, along with Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott. The fire department will be represented by Chief William Van Helden, and Cape Coral Police Chief Jay Murphy and former Cape Coral councilman Bill Deile will also speak. "Ken Corr, who is the District Commander of our Post and Post Commander Arne Suominen will also attend."
There also will be a "Gun Volley", DiGregorio said. "That's the 21-gun salute. There will also be a wreath presentation from the Women's and Men's Auxiliary. They walk in with a wreath, and place it in the appropriate place by the flags."
The final alarm will be done by DiGregorio.
"When a firefighter is killed in the line of duty at a fire, the final alarm, the '4/5's' as they are called (Striking the Four Fives) is when bells consist of five taps four times."
The Harney Point VFW is at 4709 S.E. 11th Place. For information, call 945-3522.