Cer­e­monies mark peace­ful, re­flec­tive 9/11 an­niver­sary

The Advance of Bucks County - - FRONT PAGE - By Jeff Werner

LOWEo MAhEFIELD – It was a nearly per­fect day – the skies a crys­tal blue with hardly a cloud in the sky - much like it was 11 years ago when acts of ter­ror sent tears of sor­row stream­ing from ev­ery cor­ner of a stunned na­tion.

It was quiet, very quiet ex­cept for the sound of two cas­cad­ing foun­tains, ever flow­ing up­ward to­wards the heav­ens – a sym­bol of new life.

Nearby, a group of 9/11 fam­ily mem­bers sat in the soli­tude of the morn­ing, the emo­tional grief of that first Sept. 11 still ev­i­dent in their faces as a bell tolled 11 times mark­ing an­other an­niver­sary.

Here, in this Gar­den of oe­flec­tion, built on the mem­o­ries of those who died more than a decade ago, peo­ple gath­ered to re­mem­ber and to re­flect on the lives – 2,973 of them - cut short by ha­tred and ter­ror.

They are the names of 9/11 – the hus­bands and wives, moth­ers and dads, broth­ers and sis­ters, aunts, un­cles and friends – etched in a se­ries of glass that em­brace the heart of the gar­den.

A sin­gle toll of the bell broke the si­lence, mark­ing the first at­tack on the World Trade Cen­ter in New vork City.

“At 8:46 they came and they took

from us,” said the oev. Dou­glas Hoglund, his words echo­ing through the gar­den memo­rial where sev­eral hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered for a morn­ing Honor and oe­mem­brance cer­e­mony. “They took from us a sense of se­cu­rity, a con­fi­dence in our econ­omy, a feel­ing of in­vin­ci­bil­ity … And above all, they took the lives of 2,973 in­no­cent vic­tims,” he said.

“At 8:46 they came and they took our hopes, our dreams, our fu­tures. They took from us and they left us with empti­ness,” said Hoglund.

“Let this day be a day to re­mem­ber what was taken from us,” he said, “but let it also be a day to re­mem­ber that we can give, for we dis­cover that the more we give, the more we find what they can never take from us – faith, hope and love.”

At 9:03 the bell tolled again, mark­ing the sec­ond at­tack on the World Trade Cen­ter.

“As we gather to­day in this place of re­mem­brance let us al­ways re­mem­ber that re­mem­brance is not a pas­sive act that hap­pens just by stand­ing in si­lence,” said oabbi Daniel Gross­man, of Adath Is­rael Con­gre­ga­tion in Lawrenceville, N.J.

“But re­mem­brance must be an ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion in the chang­ing of the so­ci­ety, the community and the world in which we live,” he said. “It is only through ac­tion do we truly bring honor to the names and fam­i­lies and in­di­vid­u­als that we come here to re­mem­ber and to honor this day.”

The names of the 18 Bucks County res­i­dents who lost their lives that day were read aloud, each fol­lowed by a sin­gle toll of a bell by vard­ley-Makefield fire­fighter Larry Sch­walm.

Point­ing to the steel beam rem­nants from the World Trade Cen­ter, that mark the en­trance to the gar­den, Ma­han oishi Singh hhalsa of the Sikh faith said they stand as a re­minder that there’s al­ways some­thing that sur­vives tragedy, no mat­ter how hor­rific it may be.

“There is some­thing in our hu­man na­ture, our hu­man con­scious­ness, our heart that is ev­er­last­ing and eter­nal,” said hhalsa. “And to see these flow­ers here is an ap­pro­pri­ate of­fer­ing,” he said, re­fer­ring to a memo­rial bo­quet placed at the base of the beams by Grace God­shalk, whose son, Bill, lost his life that day. “Be­cause out of the steel can arise some­thing soft, some­thing per­me­able, some­thing lov­ing, some­thing that can pen­e­trate into the hearts that may have be­come hard­ened. May we continue to plant flow­ers here.

“May we see the steel as some­thing that rep­re­sents some­thing that sur­vived the tragedy, that we all have a soul that sur­vives – a spirit that’s eter­nal - some­thing that will continue to be passed on from gen­er­a­tion to gen­er­a­tion. May we pass on com­pas­sion. May we pass on kind­ness and love,” he said.

At 9:37 a.m., a sin­gle toll of the bell rang out across the gar­den, mark­ing the at­tack on the Pen­tagon.

“To­day, as we gather to re­mem­ber what hap­pened 11 years ago, the dark­est day in our na­tion’s his­tory, we are re­minded and con­soled by the fact that it is the love of God that breaks through those dark­est mo­ments,” said Fa­ther James DeGrasso of Our Lady of Grace ooman Catholic Church in Pen­ndel.

At 10:03 a.m., a fi­nal

toll of the bell sounded, mark­ing the crash of Flight 93 in a farmer’s field in Shanksville.

The com­mem­o­ra­tion con­tin­ued in the evening with a mov­ing oe­mem­brance in Light cer­e­mony at the gar­den that took more than 1,000 peo­ple on a jour­ney from the dark­est hours of Sept. 11, 2001 into the light.

Fol­low­ing wel­com­ing re­marks by Mas­ter of Cer­e­monies Chan­nel 3 News An­chor and oe­porter Pat Ciar­roc­chi, the Coun­cil oock High School South socal Ensem­ble, un­der the di­rec­tion of Corey Axler, led the gath­er­ing in the Na­tional An­them.

Ciar­roc­chi read a procla­ma­tion from Penn­syl­va­nia’s Gover­nor Tom Cor­bett mark­ing the an­niver­sary and the oev. Doug Hoglund of the Wood­side Pres­by­te­rian Church of­fered a prayer.

The Gar­den of oe­flec­tion’s ar­chi­tect, Li­uba Lashchyk, spoke about the sig­nif­i­cance of the memo­rial she cre­ated. It was through her own tragedy that she found the in­spi­ra­tion to cre­ate a mean­ing­ful and soar­ing memo­rial that has brought so­lace to the Sept. 11th fam­i­lies and the thou­sands who visit it each year.

The names of the 18 Bucks County res­i­dents who lost their lives that day were read aloud by na­tion­ally syn­di­cated ra­dio and Ts talk show host Michael Smer­con­ish as vard­leyMake­field Fire Com­pany Fire Po­lice Lieu­tenant Larry Sch­walm tolled a fire bell once for each name.

Lower Southamp­ton Po­lice Of­fi­cer Matt Bow­man laid a wreath in honor the 2,973 vic­tims as the South Ensem­ble sang God Bless Amer­ica.

The guest speaker for the evening was Michael Smer­con­ish, a staunch friend and sup­porter, na­tion­ally syn­di­cated ra­dio and Ts talk show host and au­thor of the book, “Fly­ing Blind.”

Fa­ther Daniell Hamby of St An­drew’s Epis­co­pal Church in vard­ley of­fered re­marks and a prayer.

The cer­e­mony con­cluded with a Chain of Light that be­gan with a sin­gle can­dle and soon en­veloped the gar­den in flick­er­ing light as Shelly O’Hara Tapp and her hus­band, David Tapp, sang “The Prayer.”

The twin foun­tains of the Gar­den of Re­flec­tion cas­cade to­ward the heav­ens dur­ing the evening Re­mem­brance in Light. (photo by Jeff Gold­berg)

A memo­rial wreath hon­ors the mem­ory of the 2,973 peo­ple who died on Sept. 11, 2001. (photo by Jeff Gold­berg)

Ma­han Rishi Singh Khalsa says prayers at the gar­den.

Ellen Saracini pauses next to her hus­band’s name at the Gar­den of Re­flec­tion. Vic­tor was the pi­lot of United Flight 175 that struck the South Tower of the World Trade Cen­ter. (photo by Jeff Gold­berg)

The Rev. Doug Hoglund

Photo by Jeff Gold­berg

Yardley-Makefield fire­fighter Larry Sch­walm .

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