On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which triggered major U.S. initiatives to combat terrorism and defined the presidency of George W. Bush.
q q q
In observance of the 9/11 attacks, first responders, veterans, and community members will take part in the 18th annual Patriot Day Remembrance Service at 7 p.m. tonight at the First United Methodist Church in downtown DuBois, according to Pastor John Emigh. The service, he said, will be a time when DuBois and surrounding areas will remember those who served, those who lost their lives and those who serve their community as first responders every day so that Americans may live free and safe.
Prior to the service at 5:30 p.m., a Patriot Day blessing of first responders and their vehicles will take place, said the Rev. Corben Russell of the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church.
This is the fourth year that emergency vehicles and first responders have been invited for a blessing, said Russell, noting he started it along with Lance Tucker, the former pastor of the FUMC in DuBois.
In past years, it has included only the City of DuBois and Sandy Township police and fire departments, as well as other first responders. This year, Russell said organizers decided to expand the blessings to include other areas outside those two municipalities.
“First responders from more than 16 townships have been invited to the blessings,” said Russell. “Normally, we get 30 vehicles. I’m expecting it to be more like 100 this year.”
Russell said more than a dozen pastors will participate this year, so it should still only take approximately 30 minutes to finish all of the blessings.
Shortly after the blessings, the Remembrance Service will begin at the DuBois FUMC located at 100 W. Long Ave. Emigh said the speaker for the service is to be a member of the National Guard based in Punxsutawney.
The service will also include music from several area church choirs. In addition to the DuBois FUMC, the remembrance service includes organizers from The First United Presbyterian Church, and The United Methodist Churches of Mt. Zion, Lakeside, Reynoldsville and Luthersburg.
In addition to helping present the colors, the Brockway American Legion Honor Guard will perform a 21-gun salute and the playing of “Taps,” said Emigh.
An offering will also be taken and donations will go toward the Wounded Warriors Project.
“This is my second year participating,” said Emigh. “I’m just very glad to see that our town and surrounding areas still remember 9/11 and we still honor Patriot Day.”