President George W. Bush's visit to Sarasota on 9-11 remembered

Julius Halas
Posted at 5:55 PM, Sep 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-11 17:55:00-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL)--Thirteen years later, America is remembering the 9-11 attacks.

People are paying tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died.

Several ceremonies took place Thursday, honoring survivors and first responders.

First responders in Tallahassee shared with us where they were on that fateful day. They say each anniversary weighs heavy on their hearts.

For Julius Halas, the state fire marshal director in Florida, 9-11 was the most dramatic day in all of his 40 years as a firefighter.

At the time he was working in southwest Florida, where President George W. Bush found out about the news.

"When we saw the first plane hit the towers, the police chief and I were together," said Halas. "We had staff protecting the president, firefighters, paramedics, and police officers."

He says they were in shock, unsure about what exactly happened.

"When the second plane hit, we were all confirmed at that point our nation was under attack," said Halas. "The police chief and I learned of the attacks even before the president was briefed."

And before video was captured at a school President Bush was visiting in Sarasota. The children witnessed President Bush finding out about a second plane crashing into the World Trade Center.

Thursday sends these memories rushing back to Halas. He vows to honor the 9-11 victims including the more than 300 firefighters killed.