We paused to honor those who died a year ago and to reflect on the changes in their lives.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
The bells pealed. Bagpipes blared. Firefighters and police officers wore their dress uniforms. People from all walks of life waved American flags and unashamedly let the tears stream down their faces.
Mahoning and Shenango valley residents joined millions around the world Wednesday to reflect on the horrific events that occurred in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11, 2001.
Mahoning County officials had a ceremony outside the county courthouse in downtown Youngstown. Some 400 people gathered on Market Street, between the county and federal courthouses. Police had blocked off Market between Front and Boardman streets.
Against the backdrop of a huge American flag, representatives of local police, fire and emergency medical units stood on the north side of the courthouse steps, while veterans and military personnel stood on the south side.
'A new world'
"There is a new world since Sept. 11, 2001," said commissioner David Ludt. "Every one of us needs to be more watchful."
A series of evening observances in the city had a distinctly religious theme.
An interracial group of more than 100 people gathered at the amphitheater on Federal Plaza East for a program of prayer and song called "A Time to Remember."
"We gather as a community here from the Greater Youngstown area to honor those who have served us over the last year, to honor those who have died in this tragedy from a year ago, and to honor God, specifically, for his grace over our city, over our Valley, over our families and over this nation," said Patrick McBane of Youngstown, an organizer of the event.
On Wick Avenue, some 175 clergy and parishioners from at least 10 Episcopal churches between Warren and Steubenville, including their combined choirs, gathered at St. John's Episcopal Church for a "Service of Remembrance and Life."
"We all suffer and reach out and encourage each other after suffering, and, as Christ gives us hope, we also must give hope to each other and look forward to a new beginning," said the Rev. Fay Grose, pastor of the Episcopal Church of Our Savior in Salem.
Meanwhile, the combined congregations and choirs of Richard Brown Memorial United Methodist Church, Rodef Sholom Temple and First Unitarian Church gathered at the temple with members of the North Side Coalition for a service attended by about 175 people.
The group then walked across Wick Park for a candlelight flag-raising ceremony on Park Avenue, where the Youngstown Connection choral group from the city high schools performed.
"The victims are all American heroes. Their families have grieved and suffered to an extent that few of us will ever know or could ever imagine," Mayor George McKelvey said at the Wick Park observance.
On the other side of the park, a half-dozen members and supporters of Peace Action Youngstown gathered on the porch of the organization's Broadway headquarters, where candles on a table illuminated a globe of the world as the group remembered victims of terrorism around the world.
Nearly 100 people joined firefighters, schoolchildren and area officials on the lawn of West Point Elementary in Columbiana County's Madison Township.
"I lost 340 brothers in the towers," Dave Cranmer, county commissioner and former Salem firefighter, told the audience, referring to the safety forces who perished in the World Trade Center.
"We have to remember," Cranmer said. "We have to stay together. We cannot shudder at the violence we've experienced," he added.
Lori Williams of West Point came to see her daughter, a second-grader, sing with her classmates.
But Williams said she also "wanted to attend something" to commemorate the day. "I can't watch any more of it on TV," she said. She added that she wanted to be at the memorial "out of respect and remembrance."
Her daughter was among dozens of elementary-age school children who dressed in red, white and blue and sang "God Bless America" while waving small U.S. flags.
Some people brought lawn chairs and others sat on the grass near firetrucks draped in black.
Before the service, the gathering resembled a social event with neighbors and family warmly greeting one another.
But the occasion's solemn purpose also could be detected as many of those attending related where they were a year ago when they heard the news.
"All it did was make America stronger," one man said.
Phil Shank thinks the United States should "continue fighting to get those responsible" for the terrorist attacks.
The 84-year-old Brookfield Township man is chaplain of Sharon American Legion Post 299 and attended a ceremony at the legion home on East State Street.
"We should never forget what happened," said the World War II veteran, adding that every effort should be made to get those responsible. But he conceded it won't be easy.
The terrorists are getting help from a number of so-called allies of the United States, Shank said.
"I think they will get some of them. It's going to be a long, drawn-out affair," he said.
A crowd of about 100 people, many of them veterans, gathered at the legion for the ceremony.
Among them was Janice Borton of Sharon, who brought her 11-year-old son, Dave, and his 11-year-old friend, Cody Toloni, to witness the ceremony.
"I wanted them to see it," Borton said. "Kids don't see things like that anymore."
Both boys said they liked the ceremony, which featured a presentation of a flag to John Koborie of Sharon whose daughter, Rebecca, died in the attack on the World Trade Center.
The flag showed the New York skyline complete with the World Trade Center Towers and the words "September 11, 2001," in the blue star field.
The ceremony was followed by the retirement of a number of old, tattered flags by a local Boy Scout troop.
In Lawrence County
A sea of police, firefighters and emergency medical workers filled the streets of New Castle in a procession to remember the victims and their own who have died in the line of duty.
A large flag draped two aerial firetrucks greeted them as they marched from the Columbus Inner Belt to Kennedy Square just before 7 p.m.
The Rev. David Young of Prevailing Word Church in New Castle told the those at First Christian Church in New Castle to "stop, look and listen" to the important people in their lives.
"It's not what we do but who we are that counts. It is who we are that enables us to do what we do," he said.
After the evening ceremony firefighters, police and EMT's laid two wreaths in Kennedy Square in commemoration of the dead and had a candlelight vigil.
Many Lawrence County law enforcement and emergency workers participated in a ceremony earlier in the day at the Lawrence County Government Center.
A somber bagpiper opened the ceremony as eight New Castle police officers raised the American flag at half-staff.
The flag was handed to police by Antoinette Picarro, mother of Ludwig Picarro, a former New Castle resident who died in the World Trade Center attacks.
Firefighters then rang the courthouse bell in three series of five rings -- the traditional mourning ring for all fallen firefighters and police officers.