In Howland, thousands of schoolchildren waved flags, while people of several faiths prayed together in Youngstown.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
Melissa Storm slept through the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11.
One year later, the 20-year-old Youngstown State University student wanted to make sure she didn't miss the commemoration of that unforgettable day.
"I just felt drawn to be here today," Storm said before a prayer service in YSU's student center. "I just wanted to be here to think about that day, and I guess, to say a little prayer."
Storm joined about 50 other YSU students and staff members at the 8 a.m. service that launched a daylong series of campus events to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
"It is hard to imagine that such terror, that such evil, that such murder, that such violence can take place," said the Rev. Kathryn Adams, director of YSU Protestant Campus Ministries.
"Life seemed to change in so many ways, and we in America, and indeed, in the world, came to feel more vulnerable, and that changed us forever," Rabbi Joseph Schonberger of Temple El Emeth said.
Schonberger prayed for the strength, determination and willpower to make the world safe and peaceful. "Our country has been the shelter of peace to the downtrodden ... and still stands as a beacon of light and justice, even in the face of tragedy."
The Rev. Kelvin Turner added, "We all have a role ... not just for personal peace, but for God-governed world peace."
What took place
At 9:43 a.m., about 1,000 people stood in silence in the middle of the campus to memorialize the time at which a terrorist plane hit the Pentagon a year ago.
The crowd included Jackie Lynch, a YSU graduate whose husband, Terry, died in the Pentagon attack.
Terry Lynch also was a YSU graduate, and his wife established a scholarship in her husband's name. The first four recipients attended this morning's ceremony.
"Today we remember where we were, what we felt and how our lives have changed," in the past year, YSU president David Sweet said.
The university dedicated a memorial, built through the efforts of YSU seniors Sara O'Brien and Tony Spano.
"I pray that this memorial will represent the undying spirit of everyone in this nation," O'Brien said through tears.
Dozens of other memorial services and events to remember the tragedies also were taking place throughout the Mahoning and Shenango valleys today.
In Howland, thousands of schoolchildren poured out of classes under cloudy skies for a solemn memorial to those fallen one year ago.
On this unusually cool day, middle and high school pupils lined both sides of East Market Street, waving small American flags donated by the township trustees. Shortly before 9 a.m., the high school band led by majorettes filed onto the green by a township gazebo -- above which a large American flag flew from two firetrucks.
"It was scary," said Wayne Gore, a freshman tuba player, recalling the events of a year ago. "This is my way to show my feelings to the people who died."
The brief ceremony was marked more by silence than enthusiasm.
The band played the national anthem and then taps as members of Howland's safety forces lowered a flag to half-staff.
"It still seems like it was yesterday," said junior Eric Baker -- also a tuba player. "The world was turned upside-down. Words can't really describe it."
This morning's gathering "just shows the school cares about the Sept. 11 attacks," said Leah Campbell, a high school majorette.
Gathering of religions
At Trinity United Methodist Church in Youngstown, Muslims, Jews and Christians of all ages gathered at the Chapel of the Friendly Bells.
The church's pastor, the Rev. D. Larry Kline, noted the chapel had been built for people of all faiths.
The pastor said he went to help in Washington, D.C., right after the attacks a year ago. "It's an experience I will never forget," he said.
Rabbi Simeon Kolko of Ohev Tzedek-Shaarei Torah Congregation in Boardman, read Psalm 121 in its entirety, first in Hebrew and then in English.
The rabbi noted that in times of trouble, "We feel a need to fill silence with words." But, Kolko said, "Silence is sometimes the most profound response." After his words, those in the chapel observed a moment of silence.
Bonnie Deutsch Burdman, director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, read a poem, "The Lady" written Sept. 11, 2001, by Dana Holland. Burdman said she had obtained it from a church bulletin.
The poem describes the Statue of Liberty observing the attacks in New York. It ends with:
"How dignified and beautiful
On a day so many died
I wonder what she thought,
And I know she must have cried."
Elsie Dursi, director of the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches, ended the service by urging people today to remember and have hope.