Lower Makefield is preparing to host more than 2,000 people Saturday at its Garden of Reflection to mark the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks.
The Garden on Woodside Road will have “two distinct and poignant ceremonies to commemorate the tragic events of that day,” said Ellen Saracini, wife of United Airlines Pilot Victor Saracini, who was killed in the attack, and chair of the Garden of Reflection board of directors.
“That day, 2973 people were killed in a series of targeted attacks. The World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and an open field in Somerset County became the battlefields where thousands perished. Thousands of acts of valor followed in response to these despicable acts,” Saracini stated.
The day will start at 8:30 a.m. by marking the timeline of the tragic events on Sept. 11, 2001, with bells. This will include a brief ceremony and will be followed by time to reflect and visit the memorial.
The Garden will have ambassadors on the site to provide tours and answer questions during the afternoon. “Walls of Reflection” will be set up in the adjacent Oak Garden Arboretum plaza where visitors can leave a message on what 9/11 means to them as visitors did at the 10th anniversary commemoration.
At 7 p.m., a “Remembrance in Light” ceremony will take place, combining elements of sight, sound and light.
“As the darkness of the night progresses, a light will be brought to the ceremony with the inclusion of candle lighting and the rising of the fountains bringing us hope on one of the darkest days in American history. The beautiful twin fountains are the backdrop to this ceremony which will culminate with attendees being invited to place a flower at the glass panels listing names of the victims at the ceremony’s conclusion.”
Saracini said the ceremony will include guest speakers and musical tributes and will last approximately 45 minutes.
The public is encouraged to arrive early and allow time to park and walk to the memorial.
“It’s the 20th year and a Saturday. I anticipate a pretty large crowd,” said Lt. Jason Braim of the Lower Makefield Township Police Department. Motorists coming to the event can enter Woodside Road from either Lindenhurst or Dolington roads. Volunteers will direct them to parking locations. Emergency medical services will be available.
Participants are encouraged to wear masks and socially distance themselves in family groups. “It’s up to people if they want to wear a mask. It’s suggested,” Braim said.
Bucks County Prothonotary Judi Reiss, who lost her son, Joshua, on 9/11, said at the county commissioners meeting last week that the events Saturday will be “family friendly,” and urged people to come to remember “the victims’ lives, not their deaths” while trying to use social distancing because of the pandemic.
Both events will also be live streamed virtually on the Lower Makefield Township YouTube Channel.
On Friday at 7 p.m., before the 9/11 events, a Tribute Flag will be raised and lowered to half mast and remain in the flag circle of the park throughout Saturday. The Tribute Flag is the only flag that has been flown over all three crash sites as well as The Garden of Reflection. The pilots who flew the flag over the sites will be present for the ceremony, said Valerie Mihalek, program director for the anniversary events.
Commemorative “9/11 Never Forget” lapel pins are being sold locally at McCaffrey’s Markets and the Yardley Inn and are available online as well at the Garden website for $10 each while supplies last.
“Steven Singer Jewelers contributes all $10 of the purchase price to the endowment to preserve the memorial in perpetuity,” Saracini said. She said that since the Garden of Reflection was established, Singer has contributed more than $225,000 to help fund and maintain it.
Saracini said that other large donations to the Garden in preparation for the 20th anniversary ceremony include Porous Pave of Grant, Michigan, donating 10,000 square feet of pavers for a walkway for the oak arboretum that surrounds the Garden of Reflection; a sod donation from Doug Smith at Robin Run Turf Grass, Furlong: pachysandra donation from Barry Roberts at Roberts Ground Cover, Newtown; and sand-like minerals from Russ Dickert at Harsco in Camp Hill to ground the World Trade Center structure void area.
Jim McCaffrey at McCaffrey’s Markets, Middletown, is donating food for volunteers who will set up and run the Remembrance in Light ceremony and he and talk-show host Michael Smerconish offered matching grants of up to $25,000 for those donating for the Garden’s Remembrance Fund. Any donation over $2,500 will be displayed on Endowment Donor Plaques located in the Garden.
The Garden of Reflection is open to visitors year-round. For more information and to learn more about the Garden and its’ mission, visit www.9-11memorialgarden.org.
Other remembrances include:
The Travis Manion Foundation will host the Sept. 11 Heroes Run 5K race series in Philadelphia, Doylestown, West Chester, Feasterville, Allentown and Pennsauken. The 9/11 Heroes Run 5K series was inspired by Marine 1st Lt. Travis Manion, who was killed by an enemy sniper in Iraq in April 2007 as he pulled his wounded teammates to safety.
The races include:
- 9 a.m. Sept. 11, Russell Elliot Memorial Park, Feasterville
- 2 p.m. Oct. 3, War Memorial Field at Central Bucks West High School, Doylestown
For more information about the race series or to register, visit 911heroesrun.org.
The Hartsville Fire Co. in Warminister will host a flag memorial from sun up to 7 p.m. at the station at 1195 York Road for visitors who wish to “stop, reflect and remember” first responders who died on 9/11. A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m.
The display will consist of 403 American flags on the front lawn of the station, which will represent the 343 New York City firefighters, 37 New York Port Authority officers and the 23 New York police officers who died that day. Two additional flags will represent volunteer firefighters John Kulick and Tristan Smith, who were killed in action in Iraq, organizers said.
The Travis Manion Foundation will host a memorial on the grounds of the old Doylestown Courthouse, directly in front of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Global War on Terror Memorial.
The event will take place on Saturday, beginning at 8:46am, the same time that the first plane hit the North Tower.
During this ceremony, a bell will be rung and the names for every person killed in the 9/11 attacks will be read, along with the names of all service members from Bucks County who were killed in the corresponding wars. In total, the names of 2,977 9/11 victims and 7,060 service members killed since 9/11 will be read aloud and it is anticipated to take 12 hours.
Additional opportunities in Doylestown to honor those lost will take place in partnership with this event at:
- · Freedom Square (N. Pine St. & Garden Alley) where all post 9/11 fallen heroes from Bucks County are memorialized
- · Moravian Tile Works booth at the Doylestown Arts Fest where people can create tiles to be added to the Freedom Square tile wall
- · Travis Manion Foundation Booth at the Doylestown Arts Fest (on N. Main St. between State St. & Court St.) where people can register to run, walk, or ruck in the 9/11 Heroes Run 5K race series.
Tullytown 9/11 Remembrance Service
The 9-11 Remembrance Service and Candlelight Vigil will be held on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. at the Park behind the Tullytown Municipal Hall, 500 Main Street, Tullytown.
.To contact Peg Quann, email [email protected]