Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Victims of Sept. 11 attacks remembered at memorial service in Spring Hill


Every Sept. 11, Nick Scunziano dons his dark blue dress uniform and readies himself to serve as master of ceremonies for the gathering to mark the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of 3,000 Americans, including 343 men and women from the profession he served in for more than four decades.

The retired New York City firefighter always reads the timeline of events from that day 12 years ago, beginning with the departure of American Airlines Flight 11 from Boston on its way to Los Angeles.

"It still gives me a chill," Scunziano said at Wednesday's Sept. 11 memorial ceremony at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10209 in Spring Hill.

Which is why Retired New York City Firefighters Chapter 343 of Spring Hill chooses to host the event every year at the memorial garden it built three years ago to honor Sept. 11 victims and their families.

"It's just too important not to remember," said Vinnie Segreto, who along with Scunziano helped spearhead the effort the build the memorial, which contains artifacts recovered from the Sept. 11 airline crash sites. Although they had retired by the time of the attacks, each had friends in their respective fire units who never made it home that day.

"It remains one of the worst days of my life," Segreto said.

The memorial service was attended by firefighters and law enforcement personnel from throughout Hernando County, as well as others who remain touched by the horrific events that claimed the lives of people close to them.

Shortly before Wednesday's ceremony, John Baretela of Spring Hill spent a quiet moment near the memorial garden fighting back tears as he remembered his friends, New York City firefighters Richard Muldowney Jr. and Timothy Higgins, both of whom died trying to save lives at the World Trade Center in New York City.

Baretela, a former New York City bus driver, said he remembers the tragic events as if they were yesterday and attends the annual ceremony to reflect on the loss of his childhood friends.

"It's always rough when leading up 9/11," said Baretela, 55. "I'm so glad this memorial happens every year."

Logan Neill can be reached at or (352) 848-1435.

Victims of Sept. 11 attacks remembered at memorial service in Spring Hill 09/11/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, September 11, 2013 9:18pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Rays rally twice to beat Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Starting Erasmo Ramirez on Monday after he closed out Sunday's marathon win turned out, despite the Rays' best intentions and rigid insistence, to be a bad idea as he gave up four runs without getting through three innings.

    Erasmo Ramirez, starting a day after closing a 15-inning marathon, struggles against the Rangers and comes out after throwing 43 pitches in 21/3 innings.
  2. Britain investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber


    LONDON — Britain's domestic intelligence agency, MI5, is investigating its response to warnings from the public about the threat posed by Salman Abedi, the suicide bomber who killed 22 people and wounded dozens more in an attack at a crowded Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England, last week.

    People gather Monday at St. Ann’s Square in Manchester, England, to view tributes to victims of the suicide bombing that killed 22 on May 22 as a concert by Ariana Grande was concluding.
  3. Trump condemns killing of pair who tried to stop racist rant


    The mayor of Portland, Ore., on Monday urged U.S. officials and organizers to cancel a "Trump Free Speech Rally" and other similar events, saying they are inappropriate and could be dangerous after two men were stabbed to death on a train as they tried to help a pair of young women targeted by an anti-Muslim tirade.

    Coco Douglas, 8, leaves a handmade sign and rocks she painted at a memorial in Portland, Ore., on Saturday for two bystanders who were stabbed to death Friday while trying to stop a man who was yelling anti-Muslim slurs and acting aggressively toward two young women. From left are Coco's brother, Desmond Douglas; her father, Christopher Douglas; and her stepmother, Angel Sauls. [Associated Press]
  4. What major sporting event could Tampa Bay land next?

    Lightning Strikes

    We are on quite a roll as a community. First, we had a Super Bowl drop from the storm clouds into our lap. It just reaffirms the fact that Tampa Bay is great at lap. And Monday it became official: Next year's NHL All-Star Game will be held at Amalie Arena. The best in the world will be here to shoot and score. And …

    MVP Wayne Gretzky is congratulated at the 1999 NHL All-Star game, the last time the event was in Tampa Bay. [DIRK SHADD   |   Times file]
  5. How the 2018 NHL All-Star Game reflects Jeff Vinik's vision for Tampa

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — There were several reasons the NHL announced Monday that Tampa will host the 2018 All-Star Game on Jan. 28.

    This was the  logo for the 1999 NHL All-Star game played Sunday, Jan 24, 1999 at the Ice Palace in Tampa Bay. (AP Photo)