Wheeling to mark Sept. 11

WHEELING — Two community-wide events are planned next week to mark the 17th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The Ohio County Public Library, 52 16th St., will offer a Day of Remembrance program at noon Tuesday. The Lunch With Books event is free and open to the public.

Sean P. Duffy, the library’s programming director, said people are invited “to remember the lives of those lost and injured and to honor those who rose in service.”

The commemoration will feature “prayer, poetry, music and meditations upon peace and unity on this solemn day of remembrance,” he said.

Rabbi Joshua Lief, of Temple Shalom, West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman and the Rev. Bonnie Thurston, all of Wheeling, will lead the program. Wheeling Symphony Orchestra principal cellist Elisa Kohanski will perform musical selections.

Also, a city-wide 9/11 remembrance service will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Temple Shalom, 23 Bethany Pike. Lief, host for the event, said area Catholics, Protestants and Jews will participate in the service. He said he hopes that members of the Muslim community in the region also will attend the ceremony.

Regardless of one’s faith, the rabbi said, “We, as a country, hope for the day when there isn’t violence against the innocent … We wish to live in safety and security, and an attack on any of us is an attack on all of us.”

As a nation, “we still remember,” he said.

“We give thanks every day that we are free and safe, and we are proud to be citizens of this country, our state and this wonderful city,” said Lief.

Wheeling Mayor Glenn Elliott, Fire Chief Larry Helms and Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger plan to attend the service, Lief said.

The rabbi said several clergy in Wheeling have confirmed their participation, including the Rev. Erica Harley, of Vance Memorial Presbyterian Church; the Rev. Paul Schafer, of St. Mark Evangelical Lutheran Church; the Rev. Jake Steele, of Christ United Methodist Church; the Rev. Kenny Hardway, of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ); and the Rev. Joseph Peterson, of St. Michael Catholic Church.

Regarding the interfaith nature of the remembrance service, Lief said, “Across the spectrum, there are values that we share: the freedom to worship and the freedom to assemble that are ensured in our Constitution. They are enactable only if we are safe to do so.”

In addition, public safety forces will be honored and thanked during the service.

“We ought to show our gratitude for those who keep us safe since they enable us to make the best use of our freedoms,” said Lief.

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