By SHELLEY TERRY - firstname.lastname@example.org
Residents and safety forces came together Wednesday afternoon for a one-mile, Remember 9/11 Freedom Walk in downtown Ashtabula to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“September 11 forever changed our world, just as Dec. 7, 1941 did,” said the Rev. Robert Leonard, a veteran who pastors the Hungarian Evangelical Reformed Church and Hartsgrove Community Church, as he gave a recap of the events of that day.
Ducro Funeral Services and Crematory, in conjunction with Veterans and Family Memorial Care Providers nationwide, sponsored the walk that started at the Zaback-Williams-Ducro Funeral Home, 500 W. Prospect Road, the area’s exclusive VFMC Provider.
J. P. Ducro IV welcomed the more than 100 residents, firefighters, police officers and city leaders who gathered at 5 p.m. at the funeral home.
“We’re proud and privileged to be here today,” he said. “We’re proud to be one of the organizations across the country holding a Freedom Walk.”
The Rev. Raymond Thomas of Our Lady of Peace Parish gave the invocation, praying for the 3,000 people who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Calling and posting of Colors was provided by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 943.
The crowd said the Pledge of Allegiance and Lakeside High School student Sarah Altonen sang the National Anthem.
Sue Curtis Ducro read her poem, “Spirit of America: 9/11.”
Kayla Bates from Buckeye Local Schools sang, “God Bless America,” and then everyone in attendance joined in before Retiring of the Colors.
Leonard said, “Let this service remind you to never take anything for granted and as a reminder of the American spirit.”
He showed an Honor Flag with all of the names of those who died on 9/11.
“It’s our one way of honoring them,” he said.
Grabbing water bottles, the group gathered outside for the Freedom Walk.
Gary Quine of Austinburg played “Lord Lovet’s Lament” and “Leaving Liverpool” on the bagpipes.
A representative from the fire department will provide a prayer and brief words regarding the department’s memorial piece from the World Trade Center.
The Rev. Steve Sargent of Hiawatha Church, the Rev. Chris Bell, pastor of First United Methodist Church, and the Rev. Doug Wright, pastor of First Baptist Church, assisted with the prayers at the various stops on the walk.
After the walk, refreshments were enjoyed by all at the funeral home.