SARASOTA & MANATEE COUNTIES- For the second year, Sarasota and Manatee counties came together on September 11th to remember that fateful day. At USFSM, hearts weighed heavy Wednesday morning as first responders, members of the military, veterans, students, and staff remembered September 11th, 2001.

Carlos Moreira, USFSM Veterans Services Administrator said, "We stood as one people, one nation, United in our common humanity, and shared sorrow."  2,977 flags were planted in the campus' courtyard, one for each life lost.

For USFSM grad and featured speaker, Dan Hoffe 18 years, feels like it was just yesterday when he visited New York on business. He was working on the 61st floor of the south tower when chaos unfolded. He said, "I remember looking up and I could see documents and smoke and eventually I looked down and I saw fire."

Hoffe rushed down the stairs when the South Tower was hit. He said, "You're in a swaying stairwell going into smoke and you lose all sense of time." Hoffe keeps his word, that he'll never stop spreading awareness about that day. "Survivor's guilt. It may be 18 years but survivor's guilt is real because you see all these amazing people; mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, granddaughters and they're all gone," he said.

Hoffe said, "Remember the victims, remember the heroes. You can never forget... and hug your loved ones because life is short."