Sussex County Delaware

Council Gives
$11,000 for Relief

Terrorist Attack ...

Residents Show Support
in Services, Ceremonies
Bethany Ceremony | Video of IRHS Tribute

Memorial at Indian River High School

Photos: Indian River football players kneel before a memorial during a tribute to victims of the terrorist attacks while a fan shows his support for the victims and the country before Friday night's game between Indian River and Sussex Central in Frankford.

Sussex County Council lent its emotional and financial support to victims of the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C. at its regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2001.

Indian River High School TributeCouncil donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross and $1,000 to a relief fund for New York City victims. It also approved a resolution comdemning what it called "cowardly acts of terrorism."

In cermonial gestures before its meeting, council and audience members listed to a rendition of "God Bless the USA" by Eddy Parker, the county's director of assessment.

"Our hearts are still focused on the tragic events that happened this week," said Council President Dale Dukes before the meeting. "Our country was founded on religious freedom. This past week, we saw our country drive to its knees, but we will remain strong as long as we stay on our knees.

"We saw prayer vigils cross the nation, saw our churches full on Sunday. We want to continue that this morning by remembering the President of the United States, the victims of the tragedy, their families, and firemen and policemen. We want to pray that the correct decisions will be made, that terrorism will be stamped out. And I want to repeat, our nation will remain strong as long as we stay on our knees."

In the resolution, council said terrorism can not be allowed to intimidate Americans and that Americans can best show terrorists that their efforts failed in that regard by continuing with their normal, daily lives. The resolution further stated that council supported President Bush and the country in its efforts "to find the perpetrators of these cowardly acts and bring them to justice."

Council also invited representatives from the American Red Cross of the Delmarva Peninsula to the meeting. Sandy Yates of the ARCDP said her agency is sending contributions to support the victims' families in New York and Washington. She said those wishing to donate can call 302-335-5031, or if that line is busy, 1-800-GIVENOW.

"Last week's events, although tragic, have really shown that Americans are united," Yates told council. "We have received generosity from throughout Delaware, from unexpected places as well as expected places.

Over the weekend, Sussex County residents paused to remember the victims of the terrorist attacks during a national day of prayer on Friday, Sept. 14, 2001, and again in Bethany Beach on Sunday during a special patriotic ceremony at the town's bandstand.

While the nation's leaders attended a memorial service at the National Cathedral in Washington on Friday, the county's residents attended special church services, community tributes and memorials at high school football games throughout the day.

In Seaford, the Greater Seaford Ministerium held a prayer and remembrance service at Kiwanis Memorial Park. More than 250 people attended and were given American flags and sang America and America the Beautiful.

At Indian River High School, a football game between Indian River and Sussex Central was preceded by a moving tribute featuring the song "Proud to Be an American". A memorial for flowers and messages was set up around the football stadium's flag pole and flags were posted around the perimeter of the stadium and around each goal post.

Sussex Central head coach John Wells said his team cancelled practice on Tuesday.

"For the kids, some knew more about it than otehrs," said Wells. "But they understood. They had a good grasp on what was happening. As far as the staff, Tuesday night we cancelled practice and came to my house and wondered if we would be playing Friday. We couldn't even get involved in it (game planning). We just sat here and watched TV here the entire time. It was hard to do anything else."

County residents continued to show their support for the victims and the country in special services on Sunday, Sept. 16. The Town of Bethany Beach held a special patriotic service on the bandstand and special services were held at local churches.

The American Red Cross, meanwhile, offered several "Intro to Disaster" courses in Milford to help prepare volunteers for future disasters.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, Sussex County Emergency Medical Services issued a statement offering its full support to the fire and EMS departments of New York City, Washington, D.C., Virginia and Pennsylvania in the wake of terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

"Our sympathy, thoughts and prayers are with the victims, their families, rescuers and the entire nation, which shares their grief," the statement said.

The agency offered its extensive response protocols for dealing with such incidents. It said it is in constant contact with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency and the Delaware Office of Emergency Medical Services.

"We are prepared to respond to any request for aid that they may have" the statement said. "We remain committed to working with all appropriate agencies, national and international, to assure the safety and security of the citizens of Sussex County and all Americans."

Ambulance crews from across the state went to New York on Tuesday but were returned home. Included were 17 crews and 7 paramedics from Sussex County, according to Debbie Jones, public information officer for the Sussex County EMS.

The state of Delaware returned to business on Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2001, a day after the terrorist attacks on New York City and Washington D.C. that put emergency and public safety agencies around the state of Delaware on alert.

Schools, state offices and county offices that closed early on Tuesday following the apparent suicide missions into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were to open as scheduled on Wednesday.

The American Red Cross encouraged citizens interested in donating blood for victims of the attacks to call 1-800-8-BLOOD8. The Red Cross also has set up an "Intro to Disaster" course for future volunteers at 1973 Bay Rd. in Milford at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 13. The number for more information is 410-822-2313.

In reaction to the tragedies, several special services were scheduled Tuesday evening and Friday at noon at Sussex County churches.

County offices closed at 1 p.m. Tuesday. A Planning & Zoning Commission hearing scheduled for Tuesday evening was postponed until Oct. 23.

The county's EOC staff continued to monitor the situation. "We're treating it very much the same way we would a major storm," said Jones. "If we have to take the next step, we'll be ready."

Delaware Gov. Ruth Ann Minner recommended that businesses close and that all non-essential state personnel go home on Tuesday. Her office emphasized that there have been no known threats against any Delaware facility and that the measures are purely precautionary.

Parents at Sussex County schools didn't wait for school buses to arrive to take their children home on Tuesday. The Delmar Middle-Senior High School building was already half-empty before all buses had arrived at the school to pick students up and parents parked on fields waiting for their kids at Lord Baltimore Elementary School in Ocean View.

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