U.S. and Florida state flags are flying at half-staff at state and local government buildings and facilities under an executive order Gov. Ron DeSantis signed in observance of what Congress has designated as “Patriot Day” – the anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks on the United States.
“It was one of the worst moments in our country’s history, to see people literally having to jump from their lives in a burning building,” the governor said Wednesday during a ceremony at a Tallahassee Fire Department firehouse, referring to the attack on the World Trade Center in New York.
“There are a lot of people who have worn the uniform of our military to defend our country in the aftermath of that. Although you can look at different policy choices that were made, everything they were asked to do they did successfully. For that, I want to thank them – and any of you in any of those conflicts.”
The governor, who himself served as a Navy Judge Advocate General Corps prosecutor in the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility, and as an adviser to a Navy SEAL team in Iraq, said Wednesday’s venue for the event was appropriate.
“Because, in that moment of terror for our country, we saw people at the Fire Department, the Port Authority, NYPD, people wearing the uniform who are serving others – they displayed some of the best of what this country has to offer by putting themselves at risk, by exhibiting courage and selflessness, they saved a number of lives, but they had to know they were likely giving their own lives, given what was going on,” DeSantis said.
First responders take similar risks every day, he added.
“For everybody here wearing a uniform – law enforcement, fire, just know that as the governor I thank you for your service and I appreciate the honor and integrity you exhibit every single day.”