September 12, 2002
A day of prayers and tears
In Snohomish County fire stations and churches, public parks and buildings, people gathered Wednesday to remember the terrorist attacks and honor those who died.
The dozens of gatherings ranged from small, informal affairs -- trees planted in Lynnwood and blank rounds fired in Stanwood -- to emotional productions with speakers and song.
There were several small candlelight vigils, like one on 164th Street SE near Mill Creek and on 13th Street in Snohomish. Many area churches held special services.
It was a day to honor from a distance the great losses and show a renewed appreciation for those nearby.
At Edmonds Open Bible Church, firefighters, police and members of the military joined church members in "a celebration of God and country."
About 80 people attended a service that included patriotic songs, a slide show of photos from Sept. 11 and special recognition for members of law enforcement, firefighters and the military.
"The events of 9-11 ... were a catalyst in our hearts for the love and respect we have for the people who risk their lives for us," said the Rev. Bill Clemons. "We too often take them for granted."
Being special guests for the service was an honor, said Edmonds Police Department Corp. Bob Barker. "All the community support we saw today was really great."
Community members marked the anniversary at Trinity Lutheran Church in Lynnwood with an interfaith service and candlelight vigil.
"I'm glad the community allowed the churches to get together and do this," said Tony Pittenger of Lynnwood, an Army veteran who volunteers with the Lynnwood Police Department. "It's important to come together and remember."
About 325 people attended the service, and many wore red, white and blue and yellow ribbons pinned to their lapels.
Candles were placed at the church altar in honor of the victims, firefighters, police officers and others affected by the terrorist attacks.
First Presbyterian Church in Everett hosted an interfaith prayer gathering Wednesday night that drew hundreds. Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Jewish and Baha'i leaders spoke at the service.
"I didn't expect the huge crowd, but it was really wonderful to see everyone here," said Sally Moen of Everett. "I was drawn here, and I saw a lot of people I knew who were drawn here, too."
Kate Sylwester of Everett said she came "to pay tribute to the people who lost their lives" in the attacks. Sept. 11 "made me more thankful for my own life," she said.
Vicki Simpson of Everett said the service was yet another example of the community coming together to show its support for those affected by the attacks.
"Hopefully we can go forward," she said. "But we'll never forget what happened."
In Everett, nearly 500 people attended a special memorial event at the Snohomish County Courthouse.
Before the ceremony, Everett Mayor Frank Anderson led residents, some carrying "God Bless America" banners and wearing flags, on a 2.8-mile memorial walk from the waterfront to the courthouse.
At the courthouse ceremony, members of the Mukilteo and Everett fire departments joined their ladder trucks to lift a huge American flag 50 feet up into the fog-shrouded sky.
Visitors were led in song by the U.S. Navy Band and were led in prayers and thoughts by speakers representing those who are charged with protecting American soil and keeping its residents safe.
U.S. Navy Chaplain Timothy Loney began the service by sparking hope among the crowd when he said while driving to the ceremony from Stanwood on Wednesday that he saw the sun break through the fog and felt as if there were light after a long, hard year.
Loney asked that people be given the courage to fully remember yet continue filled with hope.
"Let us not be united in vengeance but seeking of peace," Loney said.
Wednesday's ceremony was spearheaded by Brad and Norma Pilkenton of the Central Memorial Committee. Brad Pilkenton was among the speakers, who included Everett Fire Chief Murray Gordon, Everett Deputy Police Chief Jerry Burke and Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Tice of the U.S. Marines.
In closing, Capt. Daniel Squires, Naval Station Everett's commanding officer, said the country lost thousands of lives and much more on Sept. 11. But Squires listed three things Americans will never lose: hope, the ability to remember and the honor of serving.
"These are things that God grants us," Squires said. "And no one can take that away."
A stream of blue and red lights shone through the morning fog as a three-mile procession of Snohomish-area firefighters and police officers made a somber trek to a small fire station in Clearview.
The firefighters of Snohomish County Fire District 7, Mill Creek police, Snohomish County deputies and Washington State Patrol troopers gathered inside the engine bay at district headquarters to pay tribute to the firefighters and police who died saving others in the terrorist attacks.
Neighbors also came out to pay tribute to the men and women who risk their lives for them.
"It's my fire station. These are the guys that take care of me. This is a way for me to deal with what happened on Sept. 11 and to thank the guys who do this each day," Sue Magruder of Clearview said, wiping away a tear.
District 7 Fire Chief Rick Eastman said the ceremony was not just about mourning but about encouraging each other to stand united in an uncertain future.
"We need to look terrorism in the eye and say, 'We will never forget,'" Eastman said. "I ask that you find peace in your hearts today."
Bells rang out at 7:05 a.m. and again at 7:28 a.m. -- timed with the Pacific Daylight Time collapse of each World Trade Center tower.
The event was part of ceremonies across the nation sponsored by the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the International Association of Firefighters.
"Every hour of every day of every year, you stand up for us," state Rep. John Lovick, a State Patrol sergeant, told dozens of firefighters. "Today we stand up for you."
A small crowd sat in silence, gripping American flags and each other as a slide show of heart-gripping pictures captured the moments after the attacks.
A bagpiper's rendition of "Amazing Grace" left tears streaming down the cheeks of young girls and white-headed men. Firefighters in ceremonial uniforms bowed their heads in prayer.
Lt. Rob Fisher, who visited fire stations in New York after the attacks, couldn't believe a year had passed.
"It seems like it was just last week," Fisher said. "That's the first thing I thought about this morning. Then I thought about my family and my fire service family."
Fisher said if anything good has come out of this horrific event, it is the bond he made with New York firefighters. "It's a bond that will never be broken," he said.
The 14-year firefighter veteran also found a greater passion for his profession.
"It gave me a better sense of what I do every single day. It made me very proud to be a firefighter," Fisher said. "I don't think there's any other job that makes you feel so good inside."
Enterprise reporter Jana Hill contributed to this report.
©Copyright 2002, The Daily Herald Co., Everett, Wash.