Sarasota County played a pivotal role in 9/11 - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

Sarasota County played a pivotal role in 9/11

Posted: Updated:
Image courtesy Google Maps Image courtesy Google Maps
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL -

On the twelfth anniversary of the September 11th attacks, many of us have probably spent a moment reflecting on where we were that day.

And Sarasota county played a pivotal role in that moment in history.

Across Sarasota look up, and you can see flags at half staff, bestowing honor to those lost on this tragic anniversary.

But if you look back, this county was host to key moments on that horrific day.

While history unfolded on television, President Bush arrived at Emma E. Booker elementary in Sarasota. Colonel Steve Burns was there. He was a Sheriff's lieutenant providing security and he couldn't help but notice the busyness of the white house press corps.

Burns said, "As they were disembarking form the vans I could hear them chattering all on their cell phones, you could tell they were kind of excited, there were mentions a plane had hit the World Trade Center."

He said, "Myself and a Secret Service supervisor were just mining that it was obviously a private, small aircraft. Probably somebody had a medical malady crash into the building and that's a shame, but it wasn't a real big thing."

Once the truth came out and everything changed.

"It became pretty chaotic there for a little while."

After President Bush gave a speech and left, Burns was assigned to protect the Secretary of Education. Burns said the Secretary was included in the presidential line of succession and had secret service detail. So they went to a nearby airport and had to remain there for a while since everything was on lock down.

Burns said, "The [president's] itinerary was known at least for several days prior to his visit to Sarasota, so it was a real concern that maybe there was additional targets, even being the school or something."

But before that day, the terrorists had spent time in Sarasota County.

Mohammed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi were two of the small group of terrorists who hijacked planes on that fateful day. Atta and Al-Shehhi spent time in Venice in South Sarasota County.

There they learned to fly planes at Huffman Aviation.

Shortly after the attacks, Huffman Aviation owner Rudi Dekkers said, "I heard what happened and the first thing I questioned myself was, if I would've known, I would've killed them with my own bare hands."

He also said, "These two gentlemen's case. I can't call them gentlemen. In these two animals' cases, they apparently were pilots, good pilots because they conducted the training, did the training and passed the license."

And according to recently released FBI documents, a wealthy Middle Eastern family mysteriously fled the Venice area shortly before the attacks.

The FBI claims the family had no ties to the 9-11 terrorists, but the investigative website, browardbulldog.org believes otherwise, and has filed a federal lawsuit pushing for more information.

Burns said in the days following the attack, his office got numerous calls about the terrorists spending time in the area.

Colonel Burns said, "It just makes you realize to never say that can never happen here. Because that certainly we were part of American history."

A part of history that forever changed this country.

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Outpouring of support for New Port Richey soldier dealing with suspected squatters

    Outpouring of support for New Port Richey soldier dealing with suspected squatters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:22:35 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community. Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to the soldier.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community. Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to the soldier.
  • Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Pricey processing issue at Tampa hair academy resolved

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 9:35 AM EDT2014-04-23 13:35:13 GMT
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
    Loretta Maloy says she always expected to pay for the courses she took those several weeks, but thought $10,000 in loans just wasn’t right.
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Tampa-based Odyssey Marine set to embark on new search for treasure

    Tampa-based Odyssey Marine set to embark on new search for treasure

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:55 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:55:56 GMT
    The Odyssey crew inspects the silver bars as they are recovered from the SS Gairsoppa site and  unloaded on deck of the Seabed Worker. In July 2013 from the site, which yielded 1,574 (60 tons) silver  ingots. Odyssey photoThe Odyssey crew inspects the silver bars as they are recovered from the SS Gairsoppa site and unloaded on deck of the Seabed Worker. In July 2013 from the site, which yielded 1,574 (60 tons) silver ingots. Odyssey photo
    Tampa based Odyssey Marine Exploration has an exclusive contract to recover the remaining valuable cargo from the SS Central America shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina which is thought to have been carrying one of the largest cargos of gold ever lost at sea.
    Tampa based Odyssey Marine Exploration has an exclusive contract to recover the remaining valuable cargo from the SS Central America shipwreck off the coast of South Carolina which is thought to have been carrying one of the largest cargos of gold ever lost at sea.
  • Outpouring of support for New Port Richey soldier dealing with suspected squatters

    Outpouring of support for New Port Richey soldier dealing with suspected squatters

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:22 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:22:35 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community. Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to the soldier.
    Our 8 On Your Side story about a New Port Richey soldier who says his home has been taken over by squatters is striking a nerve in the community. Many News Channel 8 viewers and Facebook followers are angry about what happened to the soldier.
  • Train, tractor trailer collide in Plant City

    Train, tractor trailer collide in Plant City

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 12:21 PM EDT2014-04-23 16:21:27 GMT
    The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is on scene of a crash involving a semi-tractor trailer logging truck vs CSX freight train at S.R. 39 and Moriczville Road in Plant City.The driver of the semi has been transported by ground to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.HCSO says there is no electronic crossing signals at this crossing. There is is a posted R.R. Crossing sign.S.R. 39 remains open while the investigation into the crash continues...
    The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office is on scene of a crash involving a semi-tractor trailer logging truck vs CSX freight train at S.R. 39 and Moriczville Road in Plant City.The driver of the semi has been transported by ground to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. No other injuries were reported.HCSO says there is no electronic crossing signals at this crossing. There is is a posted R.R. Crossing sign.S.R. 39 remains open while the investigation into the crash continues...
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Mom bites off dog's ear to save daughter during attack

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 2:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 18:49:19 GMT
    Image from CNN/KHOU-TVImage from CNN/KHOU-TV
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
    In a backyard in Alvin, swings a very lucky girl. Her name is Mackenzi Plass, or Kenzi for short, and she survived a dog attack and has undergone several surgeries."She'll be two and a half in May," said her very proud mother Chelsi Camp. "She's doing great. You wouldn't know it if you couldn't see."Mackenzi has scars on her face after the ordeal just weeks ago that put her mother's animal instincts to the test."You do whatever you can," said Camp. "I don't have physical strength at my side."...
  • New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    New Port Richey soldier says squatters won't leave his home

    Wednesday, April 23 2014 8:58 AM EDT2014-04-23 12:58:50 GMT
    Soldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photoSoldier & homeowner Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago. Facebook photo
     When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
    When soldier Michael Sharkey was deployed to Afghanistan two years ago, he asked a friend to watch over his New Port Richey house. Now, they're fighting to get their house back.
  • Disabled vet reunited with service dog lost in car wreck

    Disabled vet reunited with service dog lost in car wreck

    Tuesday, April 22 2014 1:49 PM EDT2014-04-22 17:49:00 GMT
    Luke Macner and Nina. Photo courtesy the Humane Society of Tampa BayLuke Macner and Nina. Photo courtesy the Humane Society of Tampa Bay
    A disabled Tampa veteran was brought to tears Tuesday when he was reunited with his service dog after she went missing in a car wreck.
    A disabled Tampa veteran was brought to tears Tuesday when he was reunited with his service dog after she went missing in a car wreck.
Powered by WorldNow

1336 Augusta West Parkway
Augusta, GA 30909

Telephone: 706.722.6664
Email: talkback6@wjbf.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.