9-11 in County
NOTE: Sussex Beat is a log of news briefs and commentary by Kerin Magill, editor of Sussex County Online, with contributions from Sussex County Online users.
Photos: From top to bottom -- U.S. Sen. Tom Carper helps Sussex Academy student Quinn McGarvey keep her speech straight in the wind, Keri Davidson with her son Dylan, and a sign in front of the Georgetown Fire Company.
Firefighters, school children, office workers and elected officials gathered on The Circle in Georgetown on Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002 to honor those who died one year earlier in terrorist attacks.
Speakers ranging from students at the Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences to U.S. Sen. Tom Carper recalled their feelings during the hours, days and weeks following the attacks.
Carper had been on a train headed for his Washington, D.C. office when his staff told him of the planes hitting the World Trade Center. His reaction upon hearing of the first plane, he said, was "what a tragedy; what a terrible accident."
Then, Carper said, as he exited Union Station in the nation's capital "I heard a loud explosion," which he now believes was the fuel supply of the airplane that slammed into the Pentagon.
By the time Carper reached his office, the building had been evacuated. But, he said, he sneaked in when no one was looking. What he saw "was almost like the Twilight Zone. There was no one on the floor. The television was on. All the lights were on. The computers were on. But there was no one there," Carper recalled.
Carper said he, like most Americans, watched the events of the day unfold on television. He recalled seeing the images of the towers in flames and collapsing over and over. "I haven't been able to watch it since," he said.
Sussex County Council President Finley Jones recalled that the attacks began shortly before the weekly council meeting. "[Council member George] Cole came in my office and said 'A plane just hit the Towers building'," Jones recalled. Later, as he watched television, Jones said, he felt "like we were looking at a movie ... It was just unbelievable."
Jones said the attacks served to unify Americans under a common purpose. "Freedom is a privilege and we should cherish it as a privilege," he said.
Delaware Attorney General M. Jane Brady recalled that she responded to the attacks with prayers that America never forget those whose lives were lost that day. "Though they are fallen, let them not be forgotten," she prayed.
County Administrator Robert Stickels urged the crowd to acknowledge the service of firefighters and police officers, whose fellow emergency workers died attempting to help others.
Looking around The Circle, which was ringed by fire trucks from all over the county, Stickels said that with 21 fire companies represented there, it would be a good opportunity "to thank them one on one."
Bob Ricker, past chief of the Georgetown Volunteer Fire Company, led the ringing of the "5-5-5" tribute, which signifies that a firefighter has died on duty. The bells rang at 10:05 a.m. and 10:28 a.m., exactly one year after the collapse of first the South Tower and then the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
Students from the Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences gave musical tributes and read essays written to commemorate the first anniversary of the attacks.
Four students told of how the attacks affected them and their families. They spoke of their hopes for a better world and expressed how they had coped with their fears and anger.
Kelsey Harmon told of how her brother, James, was motivated by the events of Sept. 11 to make a difference in his own community. On an October Saturday, he organized a one-boy food drive in his Dagsboro neighborhood, collecting hundreds of food items to be donated to the Selbyville Food Pantry.
Joseph Murabito, president of the Sussex County Fire Chiefs Association, spoke of the three tenets firefighters live by: Honor, courage and commitment.
"If my brothers and sisters who died that day were here, they would say 'why are you honoring me? I was just doing my job'." The events of Sept. 11, 2001 and the days that followed, Murabito said, saw "honor, courage and commitment" by ordinary citizens as well.
Photo: The Sussex Academy of Arts and Sciences Choir leads the crowd in singing "God Bless America".
The City of Lewes Planning Commission will hold a meeting to discuss its Comprehensive Land Use Development Plan on Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2002, at 6 p.m. in city hall.
Planners will meet with representatives from the Institute for Public Administration. They will also discuss ideas on how to engage the city in the development of the plan, developing a broad-spectrum survey, and moving from a template plan to specifics, such as ordinances.
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