By kalea hall
Not being able to go to New York to help his fellow firefighters was difficult for Fred Marcum, but he knew he had to stay to protect Austintown and Mahoning County.
Marcum, 35, wanted to still have a part in helping in any way he could, which is why he decided to start planning a Sept. 11 observance for the entire county to partake in.
“It is something that I felt I could provide back to all those who died that day,” the township resident said. “It breaks my heart today that I wasn’t able to go out there.”
Every year with a new ceremony comes a newly added feature.
This year, two New York firefighters who fought in the aftermath of 9/11 will be speaking to a crowd that Marcum hopes will number more than 1,000 at the Austintown Sept. 11 Memorial Park on South Raccoon Road, across from Austintown Middle School.
The ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. Wednesday and also will include a shotgun volley by Civil War re-enactors, a performance of the national anthem, a color-guard presentation, ringing of the bell, hanging of the wreaths and a 21-gun salute.
“Each year, I try to add on something a little different,” Marcum said.
Marcum said there also will be a fire engine at the ceremony that was used in the aftermath of the attacks. The truck has been restored since its use.
The two firefighters speaking at the event are both active firefighters.
“I always try to make it someone who was directly affected by 9/11,” Marcum said.
Marcum, who has been with the Austintown Fire Department for 16 years, said he was “tremendously excited” to bring in the two firefighters, and he hopes more people from the Valley will come out this year to hear them speak.
The county event includes the honor guard from the Austintown and Youngstown fire departments, as well as the Cardinal Joint Fire District in Canfield and the Youngstown Police Department.
The event will last for about an hour.
In Boardman, meanwhile, Stadium Drive Elementary School will host its annual Sept. 11 tree dedication at 9 a.m. Wednesday, in the front of the school.
Boardman police and fire representatives will speak to the students and the tree will be planted to honor 9/11 victims.