Service, remembrance and reflection will be the themes for Sept. 11

Anniversary inspires communities across the nation to action

By Kathie Durbin, Columbian staff writer

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On Saturday, Americans will mark the ninth anniversary of the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

It’s an anniversary that has become a national holiday — not a holiday like Independence Day or Memorial Day, but a day for personal reflection and remembrance.

On Dec. 18, 2001, President George W. Bush signed into law a resolution proclaiming that Sept. 11, 2002, and future anniversaries of the attacks would be observed each year as Patriot Day.

In 2009, after a seven-year campaign, family members and friends of those who died on 9/11 came together to declare the first Sept. 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, to be marked by service projects and by honoring victims of the attacks, veterans and first responders. The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act, which passed Congress with strong bipartisan support, was signed into law by President Barack Obama in April 2009.

“I call upon all Americans to join in service and honor the lives we lost, the heroes who responded in our hour of need, and the brave men and women in uniform who continue to protect our country at home and abroad,” Obama said in proclaiming both Patriot Day and the National Day of Service and Remembrance.

Individual communities have found their own ways to observe the day.

Local events

This year, in Clark County, Sept. 11 will be marked by music, speeches, a spaghetti feed, a prayer breakfast and ceremonies at fire stations marking the loss of nearly 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and a Pennsylvania field nine years ago.

• At 8 a.m. Saturday, the Camas Fire Department, 616 N.E. Fourth Ave. in Camas, will observe the day with a flag-raising ceremony, a last alarm and a moment of silence in honor of all who fell in the attacks, said firefighter Brad Delano.

• Also at 8 a.m., a prayer breakfast will be held at Kings Church, 2700 N.E. Andresen Road. The speaker will be Craig Riley, a Republican candidate for the Legislature in the 49th District.

• The Seventh Annual Peace and Justice Fair, originally created in response to the Sept. 11 attacks and President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, will continue all day at Esther Short Park, where more than 50 organizations will promote peace, environmental protection and social justice.

• A few blocks away at the Vancouver Landing Amphitheater, the Second Annual American Patriot Rally, adopting the theme “Tribute to Unity,” will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., with music before and after the event. The program is being sponsored by conservative political groups including We the People Washington, Oregon 912 and the Oregon and Washington chapters of Americans for Prosperity. It will feature a keynote speech by Sandy Straub, who lost her husband in the attack on the World Trade Center, and comments from officials at the New York Port Authority and the Pentagon.

• East County Fire and Rescue will offer a free spaghetti dinner and 9/11 ceremony beginning at 5 p.m. at Station 91, 600 N.E. 267th Ave. in Camas. Participants are invited to bring a candle luminaria for someone they know who was involved in the events of Sept. 11, either as a citizen or as an emergency responder.