SARASOTA, Fla. (SNN) — It has been 22 years since 9/11 , but the memory still lives on for Air Force Colonel Mark Tillman.  Colonel Tillman was the 12th presidential pilot and commander of Air Force One from 2001 to 2009.


He was the pilot on Air Force One on 9/11. His mission was to protect President George W. Bush.


“We are highly trained to do things when something goes wrong with the president. We are trained to go ahead and move into a position to take care of the president," Colonel Tillman said.


On Wednesday, Tillman spoke during a free event at Van Wezel, which was sponsored by Empath Health.


“When I saw everybody in the theater right here, everyone of them is silence. "Then, everyone came alive laughed joked came alive for the veterans. Florida knows what it takes to be true Americans."