Above: Patrick Fortune flies the U.S. flag into the 9/11 Remembrance Memorial event. Photo by Christopher James Murray.
In Florida on September 9, the Zephyrhills Museum of Military History held a 9/11 Remembrance Memorial, and Patrick Fortune organized two teams—Team Eagles, a group of Cuban-American skydivers based at Skydive Miami in Homestead, and Fortune’s Flying Flags in the Air, which is based at Skydive City Zephyrhills—for a demo jump into the event. It was a gorgeous morning, and Fortune kicked off the event at 8:46 a.m. (the time the North Tower at the World Trade Center was hit) by flying the U.S. flag and a red, white and blue streamer during the singing of the National Anthem. At 10:28 a.m. (the time the North Tower collapsed), 13 skydivers—Sally Hathaway Craig, Edel Diaz, Fortune, Eric Friedman, Leo Glass, Brad Hunt, Mallory Hunt, Jim Lewis, Joe Miranda, Guillermo Marturell Peraza and Derek Thomas—exited from a plane piloted by Sandy Carruth and filled the bright blue sky with canopies, along with flags and streamers. Rian Kanouff and Anthony Shawn Stecher filmed the jump. Stacey Catherwood was the safety officer and ground photographer, and Alexis Miguel Cespedez, Yunier Solano, Karen Thomas-Poese and several retired military veterans assisted with picking up flags and streamers and performed crowd control.
Several distinguished guests attended, including Stephen Spelman, a now-retired emergency medical technician with the Fire Department of New York, who rushed to ground zero on 9/11; Craig Gross, a gold-star father who lost his son to an improvised explosive device in Afghanistan; and retired Lieutenant Colonel Perry Blackburn, who was one of the horse-riding soldiers depicted in “12 Strong,” a 2018 film about Afghanistan.
Stacey Catherwood | USPA #380552
Jumpers and distinguished guests gather during the event. Photo by Stacey Catherwood.