On the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, the Warren County Memorial Park held two Patriot Day ceremonies, one at 8 a.m. and another in the evening, to honor emergency service responders and military personnel in Warren County and all over the country.
The evening ceremony, held at 6 p.m. on Saturday, specifically focused on those currently serving in the United States military as well as local veterans.
Bagpiper Jack Patterson lead a procession of Military Honor Guards to start the service and played his bagpipes throughout the raising of the flags. Rev. Rick Rohlin of Praise Fellowship greeted those in attendance and lead a prayer asking God to continue to bless the nation.
At this point, members of the Stryker Brigade Combat Team from Bradford exited the ceremony in their Stryker armored tank, which was an impressively large vehicle that you could get close to and touch.
Congressman Glenn Thompson, R-5th, said a few words on the day, nine years ago, that changed us as a nation and emphasized the courage, unity and self-sacrifice of the United States Military. Rep. Kathy Rapp was also on hand to honor veterans and said that though the acts that occurred on Sept. 11 were an act of hatred, Americans are “citizens of resolve” and specifically thanked the young people who have answered the call of duty to serve our country.
Three winning student essays were read by their authors and consisted of stories of family members who have served in the military, words of admiration and thanks to veterans. Leigh James Fehlman of Youngsville Elementary/Middle School received third place, Taige Honhart of Warren Area Elementary Center took second place and Jessica Mack, also of YEMS, read her first place winning essay that urged others to join the military and serve our country.
Special recognition was paid to local World War II and Korean War veterans who were present. WWII veterans from the Rouse Suites were also greeted with a round of applause when acknowledged for their military service.
Toward the end of the ceremony, Scoutmaster Mike Crone and Boy Scout Troop #6 demonstrated flag folding and spoke of the meaning behind each fold of the American Flag that is traditionally done at military funeral services. The scouts provided a demonstration as the significance was explained.
As the service started to wind down, Jack Patterson played “Amazing Grace” on his bagpipes before the Salute of Rifles by the John Gertsch Memorial Honor Guard. In closing statements, project coordinator Ruth Seebeck asked for help in becoming the most patriotic place in Pennsylvania.
“If you don’t have a flag waving at your home, please get one,” said Seebeck. “If you see that your neighbor doesn’t have a flag, get one for them if they’re not able to.”
The Elks Club Band, lead by Dan Harpster, ended the ceremony with a rousing version of “God Bless America” as attendees were urged to grab some cookies and hug a veteran before they left.
Times Observer photo by Kara White
Field of Flags
3,100 flags, representing lives lost on Sept. 11 2001, line the grass at Warren County Memorial Park on Saturday. A morning service was held at 8:30 a.m. honoring emergency service responders in Warren County and the evening service, held at 6 p.m., honored military personnel.