Part of famed Collins Avenue renamed to honor Surfside victims

Ron DeSantis points of light
The road naming comes in addition to the Surfside memorial for which the state budge included $1M.

Marking the anniversary of the day a 12-story beachside tower collapsed, leaving 98 people dead, Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday he would be designating a part of Collins Avenue in the victims’ honor.

DeSantis was at a ceremony with First Lady Jill Biden and other dignitaries Friday marking the occasion with thanks for the first responders who dug through the rubble and tributes to those who were lost there.

“Each little unit represented a remarkable life, a remarkable story,” DeSantis said. “So we want to make sure that people understand that and so we are going to be able to designate this portion of Collins Avenue ’98 Points of Light Road.’”

Applause broke out in the crowd.

“So every time people drive by, they’re going to be reminded that there were great people that lived in that tower and that this is a tragedy that wounded this community and this state,” he added.

DeSantis recalled that the inhabitants of the doomed tower represented all walks of life — young professionals, families, retirees, people from all different faiths — with connections that spanned the world.

“We thought it was important at the state of Florida to make sure that their memories live on,” he said, noting that the state budget he signed included $1 million for a memorial for the tragedy.

First Lady Biden sat onstage with the Governor, with Surfside Mayor Shlomo Danzinger between them. President Joe Biden has been the frequent target of DeSantis’ barbs on a number of issues, barbs that have sometimes been returned.

Jill Biden spoke about the grace that those who undergo tragedy experience, as comforters arrive, and promised that her prayers and her husband’s will never leave this community.

“We stand by you today and always,” she said.

Biden said she was grateful for this community — the first responders who rushed to bind up the wounds and all those who came to embrace survivors.

“If there’s something strong enough to help us carry this burden of grief forward, something able to break its gravitational pull, it’s love,” she said.

Anne Geggis

Anne Geggis is a South Florida journalist who began her career in Vermont and has worked at the Sun-Sentinel, the Daytona Beach News-Journal and the Gainesville Sun covering government issues, health and education. She was a member of the Sun-Sentinel team that won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the Parkland high school shooting. You can reach her on Twitter @AnneBoca or by emailing [email protected].


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