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‘It’ll open with bells and close with sirens’

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Rockwood to remember those who lost lives in Sept. 11, 2001, attacks

By Cheryl Duncan, Assistant Editor

Rockwood residents are joining the rest of the country Saturday in paying tribute to those whose lives were lost in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
A handful of community activists are planning a breakfast and second annual commemorative program at Homecoming Park on the ninth anniversary of the attacks on New York, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania.
“We want to honor the service people we’ve got here in town,” said John Evans, one of the event organizers.
Those wishing to take part in the ceremonies are asked to arrive at the park at about 8:30 a.m.
Breakfast items, such as biscuits, ham and coffee, will be on hand, and Evans asks those attending to bring a breakfast-type food to share and a lawn chair, because seating at the park is limited.
Rockwood City Council member Dudley Evans will sing gospel selections, and Rockwood Fire Department will hang a gigantic flag across Rockwood Street downtown for the program, which will get under way at 9 a.m.
“It’ll open with bells, and close with sirens,” Evans said.
He said planners are in talks with Rockwood First Christian Church to chime its bells at the opening of the ceremony.
After opening remarks by Dudley Evans, the Rev. Alvin Douglas will lead prayer, followed by a moment of silence.
Maurice Greif, a retired Rockwood businessman who remains active in the community, will lead the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag.
An area vocalist will sing The National Anthem, and certificates and medals will be presented to area firefighters, police officials and emergency personnel.
Recording artist Jason Hall will then perform patriotic selections, and closing prayer will be offered by retired businessman and community activist Eddie Bilbrey.
The program will close with the sounding of sirens from fire and police vehicles.
Evans said anyone who would like to help with the commemoration may call him at 354-1337 for details.
The terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, began with a commercial airliner flying into one of the World Trade Center towers in New York at 8:46 a.m.
The second tower was attacked in a like manner 16 minutes later.
Those attacks, as well as plane crashes in Shanksville, Pa., and into the Pentagon in Washington, claimed 2,819 lives, according to New York magazine’s website.
Of that number, 343 were firefighters, 23 were New York Police Department officers and 37 were New York Port Authority officers.
The Rockwood commemoration of the tragedy began last year with a program planned by Greif and Lynn Witter.
This year’s planners include Witter, John Evans, Dudley Evans, Bill Anderson and Kelly Gibson.