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Commemorating 9-11

Area events planned to honor those who died

(Published September 9, 2002)

Numerous free events — ranging from large citywide observances to small community gatherings — are planned to mark the first anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

While national events, such as a free National Symphony Orchestra concert at Kennedy Center this evening that will be taped for broadcast Sept. 11 on NBC, are being held in the nation’s capital, other events of a local nature will allow D.C. residents a wide range of activities from which to choose.

Mayor Anthony A. Williams and the D.C. City Council will host a "Beam of Hope" light vigil at Freedom Plaza in the 1300 block of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, across from the Wilson Building, beginning at 7:15 p.m. Sept. 11.

City officials are urging persons who attend the vigil to bring their own "beam," such as a flashlight, penlight, glowstick or candle.

D.C. Public Schools, which lost three students and three teachers on the plane that was crashed into the Pentagon, will hold a three-day observance Sept. 11-13.

Superintendent Paul L. Vance has designated Sept. 11 as a "A Day of Remembrance and Reflection" devoted to teaching peace and tolerance and to the elimination of racism and hatred. Each school will develop a Hope project to promote world peace as part of its unique program.

Each school, as well as the DCPS central office staff, will observe a moment of silence at 9:40 a.m., the approximate time of the Pentagon crash.

At 6:45 p.m., DCPS will host a citywide "Service of Remembrance and Reassurance" at National City Christian Church, 5 Thomas Circle NW.

At 8:30 p.m., more than 1,000 D.C. school children will gather at Constitution Gardens, 18th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, for a candlelight memorial to the students and teachers lost one year ago. DCPS students will place floating candle boats in the Potomac River to represent each person lost at the Pentagon and honor the lives of the lost through a special music program.

DCPS has designated Sept. 12 as "A Day of Appreciation," during which the three schools that lost students and teachers in the Pentagon crash — Leckie and Ketcham elementary schools and Backus Middle School — will hold special events that reach back to those who reached out to provide comfort.

At 6:30 p.m. Sept. 12, Vance and Board of Education President Peggy Cooper-Cafritz will hold a "Say Thanks" reception to publicly acknowledge the many organizations and individuals who contributed to the DCPS 911 Memorial Fund. Contributors to the "Pennies for America" campaign, co-chaired by Vance and Councilwoman Carol Schwartz, also will be recognized. School officials also will open the "September 11 Remembrance Exhibit," featuring various gifts given to DCPS from groups and individuals around the world.

On Sept. 13, a "Down By the Riverside" Day of Hope Ceremony will be held at Hains Point at 10 a.m., with student representatives from each DCPS school releasing white rose petals of hope and peace into the Potomac River, within sight of the Pentagon. Special readings and music also will be performed.

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington also will hold special events to mark the anniversary of the tragedy. Special masses will be celebrated at 9 a.m. at Archbishop Carroll High School and at 10 a.m. at St. Thomas More School.

At Georgetown University, students and staff will mark a moment of silence at 8:46 a.m. Sept. 11, the time when the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. An interfaith prayer service will be held at noon on White-Gravenor Lawn and at 5 p.m. in the Law Center’s Gewirz Student Center. At 8 p.m., a music and candlelight vigil will be held on White-Gravenor Lawn.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu will give the homily at Washington National Cathedral’s observance at 8 a.m. Sept. 11. Diplomatic leaders of the more than 30 countries that lost citizens in the attacks have been invited to attend the service and the flags of their countries will be incorporated in the service. The cathedral’s Bourdon bell will toll to mark the anniversary moment of each of the four plane crashes — in New York, at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. The names of all the victims will be read throughout the day until 6 p.m., with the reading to be begun by Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops will celebrate a memorial mass at noon Sept. 11 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick will celebrate a 2 p.m. memorial mass at the Basilica, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and including a patriotic program.

The District of Columbia Baptist Convention will sponsor a "Service of Prayer, Praise & Triumph" at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 11 at National Baptist Memorial Church, 1501 Columbia Road NW, featuring special music by The Children of the Gospel.

The Mental Health Association of the District of Columbia is offering methods of coping with the Sept. 11 tragedy on its Web site at

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator