Free and Woods

Cambridge Springs American Legion Post 381 auxiliary Miss Poppy Brigid Free (left) and Little Miss Poppy Emilia Woods pose in front of the flag at Cambridge Springs Junior-Senior High School on Monday evening.

Two ceremonies taking place Wednesday morning will remember and honor those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Cambridge Springs Junior-Senior High School will have a ceremony at 8:45 a.m. hosted by the American Legion Post 381. Legion member and veteran Barry Lobdell will speak. The local police department, fire department, ROTC and correctional officers will also be on hand to recognize the 18th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on Flight 93 that crashed in the Shanksville area. The event is open to the public, and all staff and students are expected to attend.

Local poppy girls from the Cambridge Springs American Legion auxiliary as well as national Miss Poppy Zoey Filegar will also attend the ceremony. They will have flags for each of the planes that went down, and a high school volunteer will have flowers for each.

Sherri Woods, co-chair for the Cambridge Springs American Legion auxiliary poppy girls, said she hoped this would become an annual event for the local community.

"I was in the high school when 9/11 occurred, and I have a sister that was born about a month after," Woods said. "My perspective of it and her perspective of it are completely different. I feel that they need to see how we came together when it happened, and they need that sense of being brought together as a nation in remembering what happened and all the people whose lives were lost and the significance of those that helped."

A separate public ceremony also takes place at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at Meadville Central Fire Department. Deputy Mayor Nancy Mangilo-Bittner will read a proclamation, and Chief Evan Hasko and mental health counselor Jennifer Lloyd will speak.

Hasko hoped this ceremony would renew interest in remembering not only those who lost their lives during the attacks but also first responders who have suffered severe illnesses or died in the ensuing years due to harmful conditions at the sites.

"It's been 18 years," Hasko said. "What a lot of people don't know is the New York Fire Department lost their 200th member (from site-related illness) since 9/11."

Patriot Day was officially recognized as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, by President George Bush on Sept. 14, 2001. President Barack Obama rededicated the anniversary as Patriot Day and National Day of Service and Remembrance in 2009.

Tyler Dague can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at tdague@meadvilletribune.com.

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