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Local residents reflect on their experiences on 9/11

On Sept. 11, 2001, Marco Island resident Sal Pernice, 56, had worked in a family funeral home business for 22 years and was also working for the Bergen County Medical Examiner's Office in New Jersey. Pernice and four others from Bergen County were escorted to Ground Zero on the evening after the attacks to retrieve and identify bodies. 'It made you angry that day. When I first set foot on Ground Zero that day and was looking around, I found it really hard to believe that this was really happening. How could this be real?,' said Pernice. David Albers/Staff

Photo by DAVID ALBERS

On Sept. 11, 2001, Marco Island resident Sal Pernice, 56, had worked in a family funeral home business for 22 years and was also working for the Bergen County Medical Examiner's Office in New Jersey. Pernice and four others from Bergen County were escorted to Ground Zero on the evening after the attacks to retrieve and identify bodies. "It made you angry that day. When I first set foot on Ground Zero that day and was looking around, I found it really hard to believe that this was really happening. How could this be real?," said Pernice. David Albers/Staff

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  • Jerry Sanford, a retired New York City firefighter and a current public information officer for the North Naples Fire District, worked in a press office in New York City after 9/11 arranging interviews for national television shows and other media. David Albers/Staff
  • On Sept. 11, 2001, Marco Island resident Sal Pernice, 56, had worked in a family funeral home business for 22 years and was also working for the Bergen County Medical Examiner's Office in New Jersey. Pernice and four others from Bergen County were escorted to Ground Zero on the evening after the attacks to retrieve and identify bodies. 'It made you angry that day. When I first set foot on Ground Zero that day and was looking around, I found it really hard to believe that this was really happening. How could this be real?,' said Pernice. David Albers/Staff
  • Retired New York City firefighter Bill Whelan, 67, was one of the more than 3,000 first responders on scene at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. Now, as president of the Gulf Coast Retired Firefighters Association, Whelan wants to get first-responders talking about what occurred so the country never forgets. David Albers/Staff
  • Nowadays, when retired New York City firefighter Bill Whelan, 67, wears his dress uniform he wears a single medal which he received as one of the more than 3,000 first responders on scene at the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001. David Albers/Staff
  • Michele Heidenberger
  • Gerard Nevins, Firefighter Rescue 1, killed on the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

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