Clearfield County marks 9/11 anniversary |
Thursday, September 12, 2013
By Wendy Lynn Brion Staff Writer
Yesterday was a day that will live in the hearts and minds of millions across the nation and world as the day "the world stopped turning" when terrorists hijacked four airplanes, successfully driving three of them into heavily populated national landmarks and ultimately killing 2,996 people.
Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City, taking out both the north and south towers, while a third plane hit the Pentagon in Washington D.C. The fourth plane plowed into a field near Shanksville when the passengers and crew regained some control of Flight 93, diverting it away from its intended target.
Ultimately, 2,753 people died in the WTC, 184 at the Pentagon, 40 on Flight 93, 23 New York City Police, 37 New York City Port Authority Police, and 345 New York City Firefighters and EMS.
In front of the Clearfield County Courthouse, a small group gathered to remember that day and to thank those whose job it is to run toward disaster when everyone else is running away.
Kimberly Kaschalk of the Clearfield Fire Department got things rolling with some phone calls to people and spread the word asking anyone who was available, especially emergency personnel, to come to the courthouse at about 8 a.m. for a small service. Clearfield and Lawrence Township police chiefs came, as well as fire department members, members of the sheriff's department, county commissioners, students from St. Francis and various other community members gathered in front of the Sept. 11 2001 monument.
A few people shared thoughts and memories of that day. Kaschalk recalled being in college and hearing about the attacks. She said there had been a candlelight service later and afterward, the students stuck their candles in the ground and every night after, someone would come out and light the remaining candles until they were all gone. She said it was their introduction into the "real world."
"There are still good people out there," Kaschalk said, noting the people who ran to help that day, many of which lost their lives saving others.
Another audience member recalled the words of Fred Rogers, "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.' To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,' I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers - so many caring people in this world." She thanked those present who are "helpers" in time of need.
Debbie Gray said she had talked with her Sunday school class and said Jesus had two commandments, to love the Lord your God and to love your neighbor as yourself.
She said the police and firefighters run in when everyone else runs out and they fulfill that greatest commandment.
Commissioner Joan Robinson McMillen said that we are often divided by philosophy, politics and religion, but for one special day we were all Americans, "And we stood together and remembered what makes us strong, we need to carry that every day. God bless America."
Marv Smith, who spearheaded the 10-year anniversary ceremonies in 2011 commented on the memorial stone.
"It will always be a part of this county's heart," he said, adding that the memorial flag was also flying that day and then would be returned to its display in the courthouse.
At 8:45 a.m., at the moment the first plane hit the WTC, a moment of silence was held, and then a bell was rung four times for each plane.
A flag was placed in front of the monument with 12 white roses.