ELDERSVILLE - The Jefferson Township Historical Society will hold a memorial for the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at 7 p.m. Sept. 11 at the Jefferson Township War Memorial located at the intersection of Cedar Grove and Fire roads.
The event is coordinated by Eldersville resident Diane Huggins, who first started the annual remembrance by holding a prayer vigil in her backyard.
"I made a promise to never forget, and I won't," said Huggins. "The families are still suffering. Losing a family member like that, so suddenly - people should never forget their suffering. It's important to keep that promise and remember. All those people (the victims) are heroes. I'll probably be doing this until the day I die."
Diane Huggins, Eldersville Sept. 11., 2001, memorial coordinator, speaks about Welles Remy Crowther, 'The Man in the Red Bandanna,' who worked at the World Trade Center and is credited with saving at least 12 people by repeatedly returning to the building and leading them to safety. Crowther died, along with several New York Fire Department members, during a rescue attempt. -- Summer Wallace-Minger
The event has since grown too large for that venue - oftentimes drawing nearly 100 area residents - and the historical society became involved in helping with logistics several years ago.
During the memorial, Huggins will speak about several of the victims, including FBI Special Agent Leonard Hatton. As a special feature of the ceremony, Huggins speaks about the lives of individual victims.
"It's important to know what they were about, what they loved to do, what their lives were like. Unfortunately, I can only speak about a few each year, but they are all important," said Huggins. "They all mean a lot to me."
A flag from the World Trade Center will be blown in honor of the victims, including Firefighter Greg Saucedo of the New York Fire Department, who was killed as a result of the attacks. The flag was donated to the Eldersville memorial service by Mark Macari, Saucedo's cousin and a great advocate for victims of the terrorist attacks. Macari recently died of cancer.
"I promised Mark it would fly every year, and it has," said Huggins.
Huggins has devoted herself to the task of memorializing each of the attacks' 2,977 victims through poetry. Several bound books of her poetry are located at the Shanksville crash site, the Pentagon and at the World Trade Center memorial. She said she is unaware of any other local annual memorials.
This year, those attending the event are asked to donate nonperishable items to the Washington County Food Bank as a community project. Huggins said, with the current state of the economy, it was important to reach out to the disadvantaged in the community.
"They do a lot of good work in the community," she said.
Those who would like to donate, but are unable to attend the service are asked to call Huggins at (724) 947-9782 to arrange an alternate drop-off.
Thomas Derby of the Colliers Way Church of Christ has been invited to give the invocation, and Lane Turturice and Emma Gragan will perform musical selections. 46th District Rep. Jesse White will speak, as well as a food bank representative.
The Rev. James Sands of the Eldersville United Methodist Church has been invited to give the closing prayer, and 46th District Sen. Tim Solobay has been invited to speak.
Huggins encouraged any emergency responders, active-duty military members or veterans to participate or attend the service.
"We would love to have them, and we always recognize our troops," she said.
The public is invited to attend.
(Wallace-Minger can be contacted at email@example.com)