Baha'i News -- Simple, patriotic ceremonies honor victims Posted on Thu, Sep. 12, 2002

Simple, patriotic ceremonies honor victims

From wire reports

Thousands of schoolchildren waving American flags remembered the terror attacks Wednesday by lining up around a 16-acre site in Summerville corresponding to the World Trade Center tract.

Younger students, many joined by their parents, formed squares on two athletic fields inside the larger perimeter recreating the footprint of the twin towers. The idea was to give students a feel for the extent of the devastation.

"I think it's pretty sad all those people died in such a big place," said Rollings student Adam Huckabee. "... I think everybody is going to remember it forever."

Across the two Carolinas, residents paused in ceremonies ranging from eloquently simple to elaborately patriotic to honor those who died in last year's terror attacks.

Hundreds gathered in front of Charleston's Exchange Building on Wednesday as film producer Norman Lear and Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. opened an exhibit featuring a rare original copy of the Declaration of Independence, which will be on display at the Exchange Building through Sept. 19.

"Our hearts go out to their family members left behind. They will be in our hearts and prayers forever," Riley said.

In Columbia, S.C. Gov. Jim Hodges attended an hourlong interfaith service at United Methodist Church, one of dozens of services held across South Carolina.

Speakers representing the Baha'i, Christian, Hindu, Jewish and Islamic faiths encouraged respect for differing beliefs during the service, attended by about 150 people.

"Because of what happened a year ago today, we all have to understand what each other believes," said Ginny Miller, a 71-year-old member of the church.

Islam has been gaining understanding, although it is still recovering from the blow dealt by Sept. 11, said Omar Shaheed.

"It has provided an opportunity for us to get to know each other," he said. "Americans have matured. They did not simply react."

At Fort Bragg, N.C., a smaller-than-normal crowd of soldiers honored those lost in the attacks with a 21-gun salute. A third of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division, based at Fort Bragg, is in Afghanistan.

N.C. Gov. Mike Easley spoke at Fort Bragg and at a ceremony on the steps of the old state courthouse in Raleigh, N.C., urging citizens to be kind to one another and engage in acts of compassion that will help heal the country.

In Charlotte, N.C., Mayor Pat McCrory remembered that he and many others felt a chill when they heard the news.

"We want that chill to be there forever," he said. "We must never forget that chill, because we should never forget those who are always going to be mourning their loss that day a year ago. And we should never forget how fragile our freedom is."

©Copyright 2002, The Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC)

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