Examples of 9/11 anniversary events
Communities large and small across the United States will mark 9/11. Even remote villages where young men and women joined the military after 9/11 are planning to honor those in military service, for example. Firefighters nationwide are finding themselves in the midst of memorials, as well.
Many community leaders have asked for help—so here are examples of major events:
NEW YORK CITY: TOURISM AND CONTROVERSY
Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced a campaign to promote tourism in Lower Manhattan. “The eyes of the world will be on Lower Manhattan, as we commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and open the Memorial,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “An important part of the story of 9/11 is how Lower Manhattan—an area many people said Osama Bin Laden’s attack would turn into a ghost town—has come back in the past 10 years.” Visitors will focus on the official 9/11 Memorial. (The Memorial’s blog updates visitors with information including a new phone App to help with navigation) Other 9/11-related sites include the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, a nonprofit connected with the September 11th Families’ Association. This Center has set up special Reflection Stations.
What is the “controversy”? Mayor Bloomberg announced that religious leaders will not be a part of the tenth anniversary program—and access will be given to families affected by 9/11, rather than reserving the space for first responders. However, political leaders are welcome. One example of the nationwide criticism of the ban on clergy comes from a religion blogger for the Houston Chronicle claiming this shows “America has lost her way.” The decision to focus more on families than first responders also has stirred controversy. One example comes from China Daily, the official English newspaper in China, which reported on that aspect of the controversy. The most balanced coverage of the decision to exclude religious leaders comes from the Wall Street Journal in a column by Michael Howard Saul.
WASHINGTON D.C.: MUSIC, FAITH AND MEMORIALS
The Washington Post assembled a helpful summary of concerts honoring the tenth anniversary. At the Smithsonian, the National Museum of American History is opening a special limited-run exhibition of artifacts from the three sites attacked on 9/11. In addition, see our 9/11 Resources page for news and links to the national day of service, recommended by the White House. There is a Pentagon 9/11 memorial as well that is open to the public. Arlington National Cemetery also plans a 9/11 memorial service with a special display of flags. The White House has announced that President Obama will attend New York City, Pennsylvania and Pentagon memorials.
One of the most creative, grassroots events is the 9/11 Unity Walk, co-sponsored by congregations and centers from many cultures. On the afternoon of 9/11, people are invited to walk a 2.5-mile route primarily in the area known as Embassy Row. Visitors can stop at various sites along the way. One of the most elaborate Washington events was to have been a three-day series of concerts and reflections called A Call to Compassion at the National Cathedral. However, the Cathedral’s website now is reporting on earthquake damage and apparently is making changes to its schedule.
MICHIGAN: A NATIONAL CENTER OF DIVERSITY & MUSLIM COMMUNITY
At times like 9/11, national media attention focuses on metro-Detroit’s nationally prominent Muslim centers—and the diverse religious and cultural community across southeast Michigan. Wayne State University in Detroit plans a special educational program, open to the public, to mark the tenth anniversary: Cultural Anxiety, Collective Identity: Muslims and Citizenship, featuring scholar Saeed Khan. This event, sponsored by the Wayne State Center for the Study of Citizenship, takes place two days later on the evening of September 13.
The most elaborate 9/11 event in Michigan will bring together 700 volunteers who expect to pitch in on the Acts Of Kindness (A-OK) program centered this year at Detroit’s internationally known Focus:HOPE center. The group plans to follow President Obama’s invitation to provide public service as a way of honoring 9/11—but the A-OK program will accomplish much more. The schedule includes sessions to encourage these diverse young men and women to learn about each other and form ongoing friendships. The estimate of volunteers is based on a huge outpouring of volunteers the group received last year in its first 9/11 A-OK service day.
Want to know more about events and issues in Detroit’s richly diverse religious community?
Follow the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit (IFLC). This organization has emerged over the last two years as a national model for localized coordination of faith groups. The IFLC has a wide range of creative programs, which you can learn about by signing up for IFLC’s free email newsletter.
CLERGY BEYOND BORDERS TOURS THE NATION
An exciting effort to promote peace and build healthier communities is this non-profit, interfaith effort that is sending a Caravan for Reconciliation across much of the eastern United States, beginning on 9/11. The traveling educational program is sponsored by Clergy Beyond Borders. Christians, Muslims, Jews—including a wide range of denominations—formed this nonprofit for education and activism on behalf of peace. Most of the national board members are not household names, although one of the international advisors is Rabbi David Rosen, who ReadTheSpirit has honored as an Interfaith Hero.
LOCAL EVENTS along the caravan route include: Harrisburg, Pa. (Sept. 11); Washington, D.C., Richmond, Va., Durham, NC (Sept. 12) Charlotte, NC (Sept. 13); Greenville, SC (Sept.14); Atlanta, Ga (Sept. 15-17) Chattanooga, Nashville, TN (Sept. 18, 19); Louisville, KY (Sept. 20); Cincinnati, OH (Sept. 21); Detroit, MI (Sept. 22); Toledo, Cleveland, OH (Sept. 23, 24); Mercersburg, Pa.; Frederick/Annapolis, Md. (Sept. 25).
KANSAS CITY: MUSIC IN A HISTORIC SETTING
Author and religion reporter Bill Tammeus is taking part in another creative model for a 9/11 event: a 9/11 Memorial Concert featuring a performance of “Memorial” by René Clausen, composed after the attacks in 2001. Bill Tammeus reported on these plans earlier this year in his Faith Matters column. The location for the concert is a nationally known Frank Lloyd Wright landmark: the Community Christian Church.
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Originally published at readthespirit.com, an online journal covering religion and cultural diversity.