Preparations are underway for this year's Sept. 11 ceremony.
On Saturday, workers and volunteers gathered at Warren County Memorial Park to set up luminaries. More than 3,000 candles are placed around the park, stretching out for a mile.
Ruth Seebeck, September 11 Project coordinator, said the luminaries are a tribute to all of those killed in the ongoing conflicts in the Persian Gulf and Afghanistan. Each one is powered by LED batteries.
Times Observer photo by Colin Kyler
Left to right: Ryan Hettenbaugh, Glenn Wolfe and Ron Hultman prepare luminaries for the Sept. 11 ceremonies.
About a dozen volunteers were on hand to help on Saturday, Seebeck said, and they planned to work all morning. Sometimes more show up but rainy weather likely kept many home.
Conditions are supposed to improve before the event. On Tuesday, Seebeck said the forecast calls for the same weather on another Tuesday: Sept. 11, 2001.
"When you woke up, the sun was shining and you thought it would be a glorious day," Seebeck said. "Then you turned on the TV."
To stage the memorial event, Seebeck said planning starts in February. Between staff at the park and members of the advisory board, there are thousands of hours spent on the process.
Work doesn't end there as the park has to be cleaned up the day after. However, Seebeck said there are few volunteers to help after an event ends.
During the morning ceremony, Seebeck said donors will be honored who helped pay for the World Trade Center site at the park. It took a lot of money for the bronze, granite and concrete at the site which incorporates part of the wreckage from the site of the attacks.
The histories of emergency personnel in the Sheffield and Russell areas will also be covered. In some cases, Seebeck said three generations of families have served those communities.
During the evening ceremony for veterans, Seebeck said AMVETS National Commander Gary Fry of Sugar Grove will speak on behalf of the troops. Other veterans from a number of conflicts in history will also share their stories and provide a sense of what those in the military go through.
Each year, Seebeck said they try to get children involved. Warren County's Civil Air Patrol will participate and student essay winners will read their writings.
The Explorer Post will also be on hand as will junior firefighters. Ryan Hettenbaugh, one of the Explorer Post members, has been a regular helping with the event.
"It means a lot to be able to do this after what happened on 9/11," Hettenbaugh said. "It's a great way to give back to the community."