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2019 News

Bucks County Remembers on the 18th Anniversary of 9/11 Terror Attacks

September 11, 2019

Contact: Larry King, 215.348.6413 or lrking@buckscounty.org

To Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse, the need to remember was as plain as the youthful faces before him.

All but one member of the Central Bucks High School West choir, which sang at this morning’s annual September 11 commemorative service in Doylestown, were not yet born when America was attacked by terrorist hijackers 18 years ago.

“The unspeakable horror of the terrorist attacks is visceral to many of us…But [the students] occupy a flatter, less impassioned space,” the mayor said. “Violence is different when you learn about it than when you live through it.”IMG_0309(2)

In a nation that has been at war for the ensuing 18 years, “the value of learning history is obvious here,” Strouse said. “It’s essential so that the gulf of what is unforgettable for many of us and not a memory for others is bridged….It doesn’t matter whether it’s one year, 18 years or 50 years after, we need to remember, to honor those who lost their lives, and be inspired to make our lives and our history more meaningful.”

About 175 people, from elected officials to clergy to students, joined on the Administration Building courtyard in Doylestown for a ceremony memorializing the September 11, 2001, attacks that both horrified and galvanized a nation.

In song, speech, prayer and silence, they paused 30 minutes to remember.

“We recall where we were, who was with us, and how we felt that fateful day,” said the Rev. Joshua Gill, associate pastor of Doylestown Presbyterian Church, in his invocation. “May those vivid memories compel us to acts of kindness, words of love and demonstrations of community. May the myriad images of firefighters, police officers, office workers and ordinary citizens be the icons that inspire us to be helpers, too.”

County Commissioners’ Chairman Robert G. Loughery read aloud the names of 18 Bucks County residents who were killed in the attacks that day, including a United Airlines pilot from Yardley whose hijacked plane struck the World Trade Center, a New Hope man who helped overpower terrorists on Flight 93 before it could get to Washington, D.C., and many others who were simply going about their jobs when the worst outside attack on the U.S. mainland began at 8:46 a.m. IMG_0300(2)

Today, that moment was marked by silence and bowed heads.

“There were nearly 3,000 people who were killed that day,” Loughery said before reading the names of the Bucks County dead. “Three thousand families and their communities impacted, and an entire country was shaken.”

Invoking the words of a Bruce Springsteen song inspired by the attacks and by those who responded to them, Loughery said, “May your strength give us strength, may your hope give us hope, may your faith give us faith, may your love bring us love.”

Commissioners’ Vice Chairman Charles H. Martin recalled that the day after the attacks, “members of our Congress together stood on the Capitol steps. They were holding hands that day, and they sang God Bless America,” he said.

“How great it would be if they were to do that again and reunite our country,” Martin said, “which is badly in need of that happening.”IMG_0290(2)