With prayers and flickering candles, to the sound of bagpipes and police sirens and patriotic hymns, Americans by the millions will break from their routines Thursday to mark the passage of one month since the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
Houses of worship will hold special services, including extra hours for confession at Roman Catholic churches. Thousands of restaurants will donate a share of the day’s profits to aid families of the victims. Many communities will observe moments of silence or conduct candlelight vigils.
“It’s hard not to do something,” said Chuck Ruoff, deputy mayor of Little Egg Harbor Township, N.J., where an evening vigil is planned.
“We’re still in a semi-depression state. It will take a long time to get over this.”
In Columbus, Ohio, police officers not handling calls will park their cruisers and simultaneously run their sirens and lights for one minute in honor of firefighters and police officers killed in New York. Church and school bells will ring in unison in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
At the urging of the Alliance of North American Pipe Band Associations, bagpipers across the United States, and as far away as New Zealand, will play in memory of the victims.
Bert Heyvaert, a piper from Belgium, said he would play at the American memorial in Ypres, site of a devastating battle in World War I.
“My respects to the (New York) rescue workers and all those who have not given up hope in their wounded city,” he wrote in a message to the pipers’ association. “I’ll be proud to honor all of you.”
At the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, charities and child-advocacy groups are sponsoring a concert and rally to honor the attacks’ victims and proclaim support for the world’s children. Ambassadors from dozens of countries have been invited; more than 1,000 children are expected to participate.
Colleges and universities will mark the day with services at their chapels, and symposiums on issues raised by the attacks.
At the University of Washington, all classes will be suspended for what’s being called a Day of Reflection. It will include lectures, workshops and performances.
Poetry readings and music are planned at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore as part of an event promoting tolerance toward Arabs and Muslims.
“We want to help people bridge their divides,” said Laurie Bezold, one of the organizers.
Catholic Bishop Michael Saltarelli of Wilmington, Del., is helping churches in his diocese prepare for a day of prayer and remembrance.
“All of us, deep down inside, have that need to be a part of some kind of peacemaking effort,” Saltarelli said Tuesday. “People need to feel at peace with God, their neighbors and themselves.”
The National Restaurant Association said nearly 7,000 establishments will join in Thursday’s Dine for America campaign, pledging to donate profits to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund.
“It gives us a way to put our money where our mouth is,” said Jim DeSimone, a spokesman for Darden Restaurants, whose holdings include Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants.
At Marti’s Place, a steak-and-seafood restaurant along the Kankakee River in Hebron, Ind., the staff is bracing for a busy evening.
“We’re just wondering if we’re going to have enough food for the Saturday and Sunday crowd,” said owner Ron Klauer. “We might have to serve hot dogs and potato chips on those days.”
Some places are earmarking donations to the Windows of Hope fund for the families of restaurant workers killed in the World Trade Center. Unlike New York police and firefighters, many restaurant workers had no employer-provided pensions or insurance.
In Sacramento, Calif., officials chose to hold observances Tuesday, marking four weeks since the attacks. Police vehicles and fire trucks from across California paraded through downtown to the state Capitol while a flag-waving crowd looked on.
“We are in a war and we are all sticking together,” said Vinny Olson, a Vietnam veteran and state employee, as he watched the procession.
On the Net:
National Restaurant Association: http://www.restaurant.org
Bagpiper memorial: http://www.anapba.org/memorial.htm