Baha'i News -- Remembering together Des Plaines ceremony marks Sept. 11 with tears, emotions and patriotism

Remembering together Des Plaines ceremony marks Sept. 11 with tears, emotions and patriotism

They came. They prayed. They cried.

Hundreds of Des Plaines residents marked the first anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in a variety of ways, and most were emotional.

They listen to moving speeches, watched the horrific images replay on screens and listened to music played or sung in mournful tones. They just tried to make sense of something that even a year later eludes reason.

Des Plaines city officials offered two ceremonies to mark the anniversary. A 7:30 a.m. service featured clergy members of various faiths reading prayers meaningful to them. A 6:30 p.m. evening service offered video images, speeches from local and state officials, and lots of music.

In between, the Des Plaines Public Library offered displays, discussions and more live music outside in Library Plaza.

"I liked it all," Des Plaines 2nd Ward Alderman Thomas J. Christiansen said. "They reflected on the moment."

Some 250 people joined clergy members, firefighters and police officers in uniform, local veterans and city officials for a short interfaith prayer service in front of the library.

Representatives from religious sects, such as Christian, Islamic, Buddhist and Bahai, read prayers.

"The atmosphere in the event was very charged with positive emotions. Even after the program finished people were just standing there. I had to get up and say, 'we're done,' " said Nesreen Akhtarkhavari of the Bahais of Des Plaines.

In the evening, nearly 400 people came out to Maine West High School for a program that included police officers and firefighters and members of local veterans groups.

Also, members of local clergy spoke, as did several city and state officials, including Des Plaines Mayor Tony Arredia; state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan, a Des Plaines Republican; and state Sen. David Sullivan, a Park Ridge Republican.

"This is a complex war that will not be easily or readily won," the Rev. William G. Grice told the crowd. "In this struggle, do not neglect or ever forget your faith."

A town that owes much to the airline and travel industry, Des Plaines invited executives from both United and American airlines, who spoke about the loss they suffered Sept. 11.


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