The SouthShore Chamber of Commerce has organized the first Drive to Remember 9/11 event at the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 11.

This month marks 20 years since the United States was changed forever on September 11, and the SouthShore community has a unique way for residents and their families to remember. The SouthShore Chamber of Commerce has organized the first Drive to Remember 9/11 event at the Firehouse Cultural Center in Ruskin, starting at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 11.

Residents are encouraged to stay in their vehicles to drive through a 9/11 remembrance display honoring heroes and all impacted by the tragic events of that day.

Melanie Davis, executive director of the SouthShore Chamber, came up with the idea for the event after talking with a group of local residents about their experiences on September 11, 2001.

“We do an annual Pearl Harbor remembrance event and realized we have nothing locally for 9/11,” said Davis. “So many people locally were impacted or know people who were, and we want to provide a way for them to remember and for all of those who were lost to be remembered.”

According to Davis, the event will feature signs than can be viewed from cars, with the timeline of the events of the day including a special stop reminding residents that President Bush was in Florida at the time of the attacks reading to elementary school students.

“It works well that the date falls on a Saturday this year so that families will be home together and can start their days with this event,” said Davis, who is planning for this to be an annual event that will develop and change over the years.

Attendees will be able to tune into a local radio station, The Phoenix Community Radio WPHX 101.9 FM, which will be broadcasting throughout the event, and the group has invited first responders, medics and military personnel to attend.

“We want this to become an event for the whole community,” said Davis. “We all stood together in those days and vowed to remember. There is no better time to remember than now.”

The Firehouse Cultural Center is located at 101 1st Ave. NE. in Ruskin. To learn more, call the SouthShore Chamber at 645-1366 or email accounts@southshorechamberofcommerce.org.

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Kate Quesada is the Multimedia Manager for the Osprey Observer Newspapers. She has been working for the paper in various positions since 2005 when she graduated with her Masters degree in mass communications. She lives in Valrico with her husband Mike and son Dylan.