City Park gathering sees hope

September 12, 2004|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN - In a darkened City Park, the small flames of about 150 candles glimmered to the soft words of "Let There Be Peace On Earth."

Perhaps the scene fit the message: "In time there is hope."

About 150 people attended the Sept. 11, 2001 Remembrance Service and Candlelight Vigil at the City Park band shell in Hagerstown on Saturday.

The program included the presentation of colors and a 21-gun salute by the AMVETS Post 10 Honor Guard, songs by the South Hagerstown High School Show Choir and tributes to American soldiers and the American flag.


Event organizer Ken Welch told the crowd that in the three years since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the country has shown signs of hope and healing.

The cornerstone for Freedom Tower has been placed at Ground Zero, the site of the former World Trade Center, and the Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public, among other examples, he said.

"We are building a stronger future for tomorrow and believing in time, there is hope," Welch said.

"I think it's a time to look at what's ahead of us," Hagerstown Police Chief Arthur Smith said to those who gathered for the service.

Smith said Americans, since the attacks, live with an "adjusted reality" that requires patience and perseverance in order to prevail.

"We will prevail as long as the American people are willing to persevere," Smith said.

Doris Houser, president of the Ladies Auxiliary for AMVETS Post 10, had a strong message for terrorists.

"You haven't licked us yet," she said. "The terrorists will always be losers because they will never know what freedom is. In God we trust."

Washington County Board of Education member Russell Williams said those who died as a result of the 9/11 attacks were innocent and targeted because "hate-filled people decided they were easy to kill."

Williams said part of the job of the public school system is teaching tolerance.

Pastor Justin Repp, of Bethel Assembly of God, said his emotions after the terrorists attacks included anger, shock and fear.

But two feelings began to override the others: pride and hope.

He said if a feeling of fear dominates, then the terrorists already have won.

Repp asked that residents live their lives with an allegiance to God and to the country and to spread American pride and the love of liberty.

"May God bless the United States of America," he said.

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