The Charlotte County Commission on Tuesday proclaimed Sept. 11, 2019 as Patriot Day and National Day of Remembrance in honor of the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and their surviving families.

To honor the first responders who ran toward the flames that day in Manhattan, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pennsylvania, Charlotte County Fire & EMS deputy chiefs Michael Davis and Jason Fair accepted the proclamation from Commissioner Stephen R. Deutsch.

The county adopts this proclamation annually to fulfill a post-9/11 commitment to never forget those who died that day.

It also serves as a reminder that 18 years after the attacks, American service members are still in harm’s way in Afghanistan, where a U.S. soldier was killed in a suicide bombing last week.

The acceptance of the proclamation by our own first responders is more than ceremonial; it confirms their presence on the front lines of daily emergencies here at home.

It also acknowledges that hundreds of first responders later died from exposure to the toxic fumes at ground zero and hundreds more struggle with symptoms and conditions caused by that exposure.

The patriotism summoned by the proclamation goes beyond thoughts and prayers one day a year; it speaks to a deep commitment each of us makes to our fellow Americans every day no matter the challenge or the cost. The proclamation read, in part, “the American spirit was never stronger than after that day.” I hope you felt that spirit stir in your personal remembrance of that terrible day.

Dever Park

None of the victims of the 9/11 attacks would have wanted their fellow Americans to stop living life to the fullest, so it is fitting that tomorrow, the County Commission will hold another ceremony to commemorate the completion of a new recreation center with a ribbon-cutting at Ann and Chuck Dever Regional Park in Englewood.

The recreation center opened for specialty children’s programs late in the summer break and to the general public last month. The 23,000-square-foot recreation center has a multi-purpose gymnasium, fitness center, multi-purpose rooms and a community garden.

The $9 million facility was paid for by the 1% local option sales tax approved by voters in November 2014.

For a full list of programs available, visit CharlotteCountyFL.gov and click Parks/Recreation/Aquatics under Popular Links.

Library ceremony

The County Commission was joined by more than 100 people on Sept. 5 to celebrate the opening of the Punta Gorda Charlotte Library with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Punta Gorda officials, members of the Friends of the Punta Gorda Charlote Library, contractors, library staff and members of the public filled the library lobby for the ceremony and toured the facility after the ceremony.

The $7.8 million library was funded by proceeds from the 1% local option sales. The city and the Friends contributed about $500,000 toward the project. Construction on the 20,100-square-foot facility began April 9 on land donated to the county by the city.

The library includes meeting rooms, a Friends of the Library bookstore, youth and program space, a computer area with instructional classes and approximately 1,000 square feet for archive functions.

The library is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Wednesday.

For information, visit CharlotteCountyFL.gov and click Libraries & History under Popular Links.

Ray Sandrock is the Charlotte County administrator. Readers may reach him at Raymond.Sandrock@CharlotteCountyFL.gov.

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