Twelve Years Later… Sarasota’s 9/11 Connection Stronger than Ever

Sarasota’s 9/11 Connection

I’ve previously recounted my own memoirs of 9/11 in Sarasota, but as we remember the anniversary of this tragedy yet again, it seems that Sarasota’s connection to the events of that day gets stronger, if not more mysterious, every year.

Recently I was on a plane chatting with someone who happened to have moved to Sarasota in the years since 9/11. Not having been a resident of the area at the time, he was only vaguely aware of President Bush’s presence in our beautiful city that fateful morning. In fact, he’d recalled “W” being in Florida, and even on the Gulf Coast, but didn’t realize Sarasota was the location.

“Yep. He was in Sarasota. I saw him drive by that morning on his way to Emma E. Booker Elementary School, where he was famously reading to the children when someone whispered in his ear about the attacks,” I said.

As we flew over Florida, I went on to explain that several of the hijackers trained as would-be pilots nearby in Venice—one of them famously not wanting to bother learning to land, just fly.

It reminded me just how much I’ve always felt that Sarasota was eerily connected to the 9/11 attacks… and how that even that day I wondered if our city might have been a target because of the well-publicized movements of the President.

But none of us who lived here back in 2001 had any idea just how strong that connection would turn out to be. We learned of the Venice connection pretty quickly, of course. But we still don’t know much about the Saudi family living in Sarasota at the time, and just how much they may or may not have had to do with the 9/11 hijackers. The Sarasota Herald-Tribune is reporting that the FBI continues its pattern of obfuscation and denial about the issue.

Since the FBI has unfortunately not been forthcoming about what it knows, it is only after significant public outcry and a lawsuit that we, the people, stand a remote chance of ever learning more about the family who mysteriously vacated their Prestancia home just 2 weeks prior to the 9/11 attacks.

Perhaps we may never know just how deep the Sarasota 9/11 connection goes. For now, it’s up to a federal judge in Broward County named William L. Zloch. Let’s hope he rules in favor of the people.

7 Replies to “Twelve Years Later… Sarasota’s 9/11 Connection Stronger than Ever”

  1. I remember that day. I started my practice only 3 weeks before. Jessica was in kindergarten. She’s in college now. Would love to know the details someday!

  2. David G. Johnson
    David G. Johnson says:

    Yes, Jo… I remember meeting you within just a few weeks of 9/11… at a networking meeting, not unlike the one I attended that morning.

    Tuesday, 9/11 was my second day working full time in this business. It’s amazing how far we’ve all come since then!

  3. Isn‘t it also strange how a Sarasota resident, Katherine Harris, decided the fate of the Bush/Gore presidential election. Just something else to think about!

  4. David G. Johnson
    David G. Johnson says:

    That’s right, @Cindy… but of course none of us are openly speculating about any connection between Ms. Harris and the Saudis or the hijackers, right?

    @Bob, I’ve always thought the same thing. No matter who told him what when, staying at the school was bizarre. I mentioned in my post that Bush’s movements were widely known, and his precise whereabouts were quite public. The delay in getting him out of the school is most curious.

  5. Jim brown says:

    Tks David. A very thought provoking article.
    Thank you for sharing.

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