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'It's Right We Remember'

APTOPIX Sept 11 Anniversary
Stefan Jeremiah
Tribute in Light, two vertical columns of light representing the fallen towers of the World Trade Center shine against the lower Manhattan skyline on the 19th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, seen from Jersey City, N.J., Friday, Sept. 11, 2020.

Remembrance ceremonies honoring the 20th anniversary of 9/11 take place this weekend across the region. “Indivisible” is a family-friendly event honoring the anniversary outside the WSRE studios on Saturday with live music, guest speakers, and a first responder “Touch-A-Truck” experience for kids.

First Judicial Circuit Court Judge Gary Bergosh will be one of the speakers.

Bergosh comes from a military family. He’s a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps. He went to Iraq in 2003 as an executive officer of a Marine Corps battalion serving in the War on Terrorism following the 9/11 attacks.

Following the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last month, and the bombing outside Kabul airport, which killed 13 U.S. service members, Bergosh says the anniversary is a mix of emotions.

“It can be a bitter time, because of what’s happening recently, but I think we have to take this time to remember everyone that served and especially those that served and made the ultimate sacrifice with their life or the egregious injuries some have suffered and other injuries that are physical or emotional.”

Bergosh is among a handful of speakers, including Escambia County Sheriff Chip Simmons, Ret. U.S. Navy Capt. Keith Hoskins, and Gold Star family member Jill Hubbs.

“We just have a tremendous community and these folks came together (saying) ‘Hey we need to do something in recognition of the 20-year anniversary,” Bergosh said.

Bergosh will talk about the U.S. Constitution. His message is one of hope and celebrates the country, though he says it’s far from perfect.

“How special that document is, how it’s affected the rest of the world and how even today with the things we’re going through, with the war on terror, how our great country still endures and how that document is not only for Americans but it’s a beacon of hope for all of the world.”

Circuit Judge Gary Bergosh

As a judge with the Veterans Treatment Court, which is designed to assist veterans with needs associated with substance abuse and mental health, Bergosh has seen firsthand how war affects those vets who come back home.

“Sometimes you might say there are some fates worse than death and — life is precious but there are some horrific injuries that some people have survived that it took them a long time to heal, maybe they’re still healing, and maybe they’ll never get back to 100%, but their injuries are just horrible.”

“They’ve given a lot.”

It will be another 365 days before another 9/11 event. But, Bergosh says that tragic day should continue to be remembered.

“It’s easy to forget about it with our everyday life, with what we do, but I just think it’s right we remember this.”

Saturday’s event begins at 9 a.m. Speakers will start at 10 a.m. For more information, visit the WSRE Facebook page. Other events in the area include a first responder vehicle procession Saturday evening and a commemoration ceremony at 6 p.m. at Joe Etheridge Stadium in Fort Walton Beach and a First Responder 9/11 Car Show in Freeport.

Jennie joined WUWF in 2018 as digital content producer and reporter.