An Islamorada firefighter rang the golden bell several times as fellow first responders and community members took a moment to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the lives lost and the ultimate sacrifices by police, firefighters and others at a remembrance ceremony at Station 20. 

Islamorada Fire Rescue Lt. Carlos Moreton guided the somber ceremony, which included prayer by Pastor Tony Hammon and remarks by Village Manager Ted Yates and state Rep. Jim Mooney. 

“I can remember where I was when it all started unfolding,” Yates said. “I can feel the emotion that I had that day as I watched planes crashing into towers on live TV and the people and the tragedy. It forever changed how we live and how we travel, but this country has become strong from it.” 

Mooney said an island some 1,300 miles north of Islamorada was under assault. “Our freedom was under assault, our nation was under assault and our guts were under assault,” he said.

As the assault on the Twin Towers took 2,763 lives, Mooney said there were two other assaults. An attack at the Pentagon resulted in 189 lives lost, which included 64 lives on American Airlines Flight 77. On United Flight 93, Americans refused to go down without a fight. All 44 people aboard were killed when the plane crashed in a rural field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Mooney said the group on the United plane saved thousands of others’ lives.

“While the attacks were intended to break the Samaritan spirit, they did just the opposite,” Mooney said.

Jim McCarthy is one of the many Western New Yorkers who escaped the snow and frigid temperatures for warm living by the water. A former crime & court reporter and city editor for two Western New York newspapers, Jim has been honing his craft since he graduated from St. Bonaventure University in 2014. In his 4-plus years in the Keys, Jim has enjoyed connecting with the community. “One of my college professors would always preach to be curious,” he said. “Behind every person is a story that’s unique to them, and one worth telling. As writers, we are the ones who paint the pictures in the readers minds of the emotions, the struggles and the triumphs.” Jim is past president of the Key Largo Sunset Rotary Club, which is composed of energetic members who serve the community’s youth and older populations. Jim is a sports fanatic who loves to watch football, hockey, mixed martial arts and golf. He also enjoys time with family and his new baby boy, Lucas, who arrived Oct. 4, 2022.