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20 Years After 9/11: Commemorations, Ceremonies And Memorials Planned Across Western Pa.

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- It has been 20 years since the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001.

It's a day when thousands of people lost their lives in New York City, at the Pentagon and in a quiet field here in Pennsylvania. A day when Americans watched in horror as our country was attacked by terrorists.

In observance, 20 years later, commemorations, ceremonies and memorials have been planned to remember and honor the lives lost and those who ran toward danger. Here is a list of a few going on in Western Pennsylvania.


Flight 93 National Memorial
IMPORTANT NOTE: The National Park Service says they will be closing the memorial site to the public on Saturday morning during the solemn, 90-minute service due to the ongoing issues with the pandemic. The park grounds will reopen following the ceremony.

• KDKA's Ross Guidotti Reports: Visitors Pay Their Respects At Flight 93 Memorial Ahead Of Sept. 11
"My overall view of this place is just how peaceful it is, from the cool breeze to the rolling hills and just the quietness about here."

• Chalk Art Remembrance: Chalk Artists Gather At Flight 93 National Memorial To Create 40 Portraits Of Passengers And Crew Members
"I'm humbled and honored to be joined by an amazing team of artists on this project."

In Somerset County, there are events planned for the whole week, including virtual sessions for teachers and a Speakers Series.

On Friday, Sept. 10, at 7:30 p.m., the Friends of Flight 93 will host the Luminaria Ceremony at Flight 93's Memorial Plaza. The reflection ceremony will include 40 candle lanterns lit and carried by family members, distinguished guests and Friends of Flight 93 group members. They will be placed below the names of each of the passengers and crew members of Flight 93 at the Wall of Names.

On Saturday morning, the park will be closed for the official observance. It will begin at 9:45 a.m. on the Memorial Plaza. At 10:03 a.m., the time that Flight 93 crashed 20 years earlier, an annual tradition will continue. The names of the passengers and crew members will be read, the Bells of Remembrance will be rung in their memory and a wreath will be placed at the Wall of Names.

Afterward the ceremony, family and friends of those killed will be allowed to walk out to the crash site.

Former President George W. Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush will attend the ceremony. The former president is scheduled to speak. In addition, Vice President Kamala Harris is also scheduled to visit the site.

Because the guest list is limited, the ceremony will be streamed for the public. One of the places you can watch is right here on CBSN Pittsburgh.

On Saturday afternoon, the Johnstown Symphony Orchestra will play a community concert on the Memorial Plaza. The time is set for 3 p.m. and it is free and open to the public. They will perform Dvořák's Symphony No. 9 "From the New World."

For more information on the week of events planned at the Flight 93 National Memorial, visit their website here.

You can also click here for the homepage.

Tunnel To Towers
The Tunnel to Towers Foundation is bringing its "Tower of Light" tributes back to the Pentagon and Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville to mark the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks. The "Tower of Light" will shine over the Flight 93 Memorial starting on Sept. 10. The lights will be illuminated until the early morning hours on Sept. 12.

Tunnel to Towers Tower of Light:
● The Pentagon Tower of Light is made up of 44 individual lights
● The Flight 93 Tower of Light is made up of 40 lights to symbolize the 40 passengers and crew who lost their lives on September 11, 2001
● The light beams can reach 18,000 feet into the air on a clear night
● On a clear night, the lights are visible from 60 miles away
● Total wattage per tribute -- Pentagon - 308,000 watts | Shanksville - 280,000 watts

For more information on this tribute, visit their website here.

Laurel Arts
Laurel Arts is hosting a month-long exhibition -- "Reflections of the Human Spirit – America's County Responds to the Tragic Events of September 11."

The exhibition focuses on Somerset County's response to the tragic loss of Flight 93 and serves as a way to educate others about the heroic acts of first responders and the way the county came together in the days and weeks that followed 9/11.

For more information, visit their website here.

9/11 Tour de Trail
In commemoration of the 20th anniversary of 9/11, the September 11th National Memorial Trail Alliance is hosting its third annual bike ride, the 9/11 Tour de Trail. It will be held on Sat., Sept. 18, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The 24-mile ride runs through the Laurel Highlands region of Pennsylvania, including a loop through the Flight 93 National Memorial.

Proceeds from the ride support the continued development of the 9/11 National Memorial Trail, which is a 1,300-mile biking, hiking and motor-friendly trail that connects the three 9/11 memorial sites via six states and the District of Columbia.

For more information or if you would like to register for the event, visit the website here.


Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum
For the somber 20th anniversary of 9/11, Soldiers & Sailors Hall plans to recognize service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice defending our country. They will do so with a dog tag display featuring 6,753 regular dog tags and 300 flag dog tags.

Organizers say each dog tag represents an individual life lost in the conflicts since Sept. 11, 2001. The 300 special flag dog tags will specifically represent each individual service member from Pennsylvania. In total, 7,053 dog tags will be suspended between the light posts across the walkway leading to the building. The open-air memorial is open now and continues through Sept. 30.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, Soldiers & Sailors will formally observe the day with the playing of "Tap" at dusk, 7:30 p.m. The building will be closed at that time.

For more information on the 9/11 Dog Tags exhibit, visit their website at this link.

9/11 South Park Stair Climb
On Saturday, Sept., 11, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Park Fairgrounds, the Library Volunteer Fire Department will host the 9/11 South Park Stair Climb. The organizers says they will be donating all proceeds to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

For more information, click here.

Butler Catholic School
"Let Us Remember, Let Us Honor, Let Us Pray" will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 10, at the school's Grotto. It will honor veterans, military members, first responders and medical professionals.

The ceremony will include readings, reflections, singing, candle lighting, and additional elements brought together by our school community.

California University of Pennsylvania
Ceremonies will kick off Friday, Sept. 10, at 12:15 p.m. with a memorial service on the quad. Following the service, members of the campus ROTC staff will hold a flag-folding ceremony at 1 p.m.

On Saturday, Sept. 11, the campus will sound the Old Main Clock Tower's chimes at 8:46 a.m., 9:03 a.m., 9:37 a.m. and 10:03 a.m. to honor the 9/11 victims in New York, Washington, D.C., and Somerset County.

Then, a moment of silence will be held prior to the Cal U Vulcans football game at 1 p.m. at Adamson Stadium. A large American flag will be displayed on the field.

Catholic Diocese of Greensburg
On Friday, Sept. 10, Bishop Larry J. Kulick will visit the Westmoreland 911 Center at 10 a.m., where he will talk to leaders about the calls that came in as terrorists hijacked a plane that ultimately crashed across the county border in Shanksville, Somerset County. He will then visit the Fayette County 911 Center at 1 p.m. where he will lead a prayer service and speak to dispatchers who were working on 9/11/2001.

Then, on Saturday, Sept. 11, Bishop Kulick will host a remembrance Mass at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Greensburg at 4:30 p.m. The public is welcome and the Mass will also be livestreamed on the Diocese of Greensburg website, Facebook page and YouTube Channel.

Castle Shannon:
The South Hills Council of Governments will present an all-day display of first responder emergency vehicles on Saturday, Sept. 11.

Organizers say, "The presentation is intended to honor and recognize all first responders who committed themselves, without reservation, to duty and service during the horrific events of 9/11/2001."

The tribute begins at 8 a.m. and a short ceremony will be held at 9 a.m. in the parking lot of the Castle Shannon Volunteer Fire Department. It will be open to the public until 7 p.m.

Connellsville Area Senior High School
The Warriors Rock organization is planning a special event on Saturday, Sept. 11, at Connellsville Area High School to honor veterans and those who responded to Shanksville on 9/11/2001. The concert begins at 7 p.m. and the City will be holding a special program outside of the school at 5:30 p.m.

Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company
Cranberry Township firefighters will be hanging a large American flag from a ladder truck beginning at sunrise on Sept. 11, 2021. It will remain until sundown, at the Cranberry Township Volunteer Fire Company.

John Pristas, CTVFC's Assistant Chief, will play "Taps" in front of the company's 9/11 Memorial outside of the fire station at the following times:
• 8:46 a.m., American Flight 11 hits the North Tower of the World Trade Center
• 9:03 a.m., United Flight 175 crashes into the South Tower
• 9:40 a.m., American Flight 77 crashes into the Pentagon
• 9:59 a.m., World Trade Center's South Tower collapses
• 10:03 a.m., Hijacked flight United Flight 93 crashes into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania
• 10:28 a.m., World Trade Center's North Tower collapses

For more information on the events, visit this link.

Duquesne University
Duquesne University's Gumberg Library is hosting the "September 11, 2001: The Day that Changed the World" exhibit. It includes archival photographs and images of artifacts from the 9/11 Memorial and Museum's permanent collection.

On display in Gumberg Library's fourth-floor Popular Reading Room, the exhibition is free and open to visitors through Monday, Sept. 27.

For more information, click here.

Fayette County
Fayette County and the City of Uniontown will host a remembrance ceremony, commemorating the 20th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.

It will take place on Saturday, Sept. 11, at 2 p.m. in Storey Square on East Main Street in Uniontown. The community is welcome.

The Fayette County Veteran Affairs Office, Fayette County Board of Commissioners, Uniontown City Council, Office of Uniontown Mayor Bill Gerke, Fayette County first responders, local leaders and other community groups will be in attendance.

Indiana University of Pennsylvania
IUP will mark the anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, with a remembrance service on Sept. 10 at 11:40 a.m. in front of the 9/11 memorial in the IUP Oak Grove. They will be honoring the memory of the three IUP alumni lost in the World Trade Center attacks -- Donald Jones, a 1980 graduate; William Moskal, a 1979 graduate; and William Sugra, a 1993 graduate.

In the event of inclement weather, the program will be moved to the Performing Arts Center's Fisher Auditorium. Face coverings/masking is required indoors in in all IUP buildings; it is not required outdoors.

Ligonier Country Market
The Ligonier Valley School District's Air Force JROTC program will observe the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with a special ceremony during the Ligonier Country Market's regular Saturday market on Sept. 11.

Under the direction of Master Sgt. David Oates, at 10 a.m., cadets with the Air Force JROTC's color guard will present the U.S. flag and observe a moment of silence for those who lost their lives during the 2001 terrorist attacks on America. Cadets also will present "God Bless America" in American Sign Language.

For more information on the Ligonier Country Market, click here.

Mount Lebanon
The municipality will mark Sept. 11 with a public ceremony and walk on Saturday.

The "A Day to Remember" ceremony will begin at 8:25 a.m. at the Mt. Lebanon Public Safety Center. It will include readings, a moment of silence, bell ringing and performances. Afterward, the community is invited to participate in a one-mile silent walk through Mt. Lebanon Cemetery. The walk includes a timeline from Sept. 11, 2001. It will be open until 7 p.m.

For more information, visit this link.

Seneca Valley School District
Seneca Valley JROTC cadets will read remarks about the attacks on 9/11 and hold a moment of silence while retiring the colors to half-staff. The morning ceremony will be concluded with the playing of "Taps." It will take place on Friday, Sept. 10, at 8:40 a.m. at the Seneca Valley Secondary Campus flagpole.

The staff and students at Haine Middle School are decorating the main lobby with artifacts and patriotic items, creating large "thank you" banners and filming students singing songs. They plan to put together a video which they will send to families and local first responders.

Also, at Ryan Gloyer Middle School, students and staff are encouraged to wear red, white and blue on Friday, Sept. 10. Social studies lessons that day will be focused on the history of 9/11.

West Virginia University
The university's annual 24-hour vigil will continue this year. University President Gordon Gee will open the remembrance at 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 10. The vigil, featuring most of the members of WVU's Army ROTC and Air Force ROTC, will run from noon that day to noon on Saturday, Sept. 11, near Wise Library. The ROTC members will stand vigil in shifts for 24 hours to mark the 9/11 anniversary at the downtown campus memorial site.

In addition, the university will honor military members, veterans and first responders during Saturday's football home opener.

For more information, visit this link.

Wexford's 9/11 Field of Flags & Ceremony of Remembrance
To be held on Saturday, Sept. 11, from 10-11 a.m. at Altmyer Park – 607 Wexford Bayne Road. This Ceremony of Remembrance will honor military members, veterans and those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

A solemn backdrop of more than 7,000 U.S. flags representing those service men and women will be displayed on more than eight acres of Altmyer Park along Route 910 in Wexford. The ceremony will include messages from leaders in the military community, the 28th Div. ID National Guard Band, a Bagpiper and 21-gun salute.

This article was first published on Sept. 3, 2021.

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