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IC, UI communities gather to remember 9/11

BY ERIC MOORE | SEPTEMBER 12, 2011 7:20 AM

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Seth Deaver was only in fifth grade when four hijacked planes crashed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001. The Kirkwood Community College student said he remembers being at his after-school daycare when he learned about the events.

“I was young, so I kind of didn’t realize how big of an event it was until a few years later,” the 19-year-old said.

Iowa City groups and residents came together in reflection on Sunday to remember the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The event was organized by the Consultation of Religious Communities and hosted by group’s president, the Rev. Mel Schlachter. It featured several religious and community leaders and representatives. The solemn crowd of residents from Iowa City and surrounding communities assembled into the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival Stage in Lower City Park to hear speeches before embarking on a “walk for peace” around City Park. Those in attendance carried with them flags and handcrafted doves.

Near the beginning of the event, Schlatchter called attention to the American flag on the stage, which he purchased in a church near Ground Zero. Inscribed on the flag were the names of nearly 3,000 people who died in the attacks in 2001.

“Today is a day about memory,” University of Iowa President Sally Mason said. “We evoke the memory about where we were and what we felt.”

Mason recalled the tragedy as an “ironically beautiful September day” and spoke of remembrance, as well as appreciation for the first responders to the disaster. She said the university will continue to play its part in exhibiting positive value until the effects of 9/11 are “only memories.”

Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa, was also in attendance — his fifth appearance at a 9/11-theme event in two days. He said Sunday’s event, in comparison with the others, had the “biggest emphasis on peace.”

“This is a national day of remembrance,” Loebsack said. “It’s a day of remembrance but it’s also a day of service … we have to work for peace.”

Veterans for Peace Iowa President Ed Flaherty spoke of the importance of carrying on despite great tragedy.

“We need to be more concerned with what we have done with 9/11 than with 9/11 itself,” he said.
Flaherty said his group hopes for all U.S. troops to be home by the end of the year.

After the speeches, the “walk for peace” was led by the speakers as musicians from First Christian Church played, accompanying the crowd’s chant of peace.

Barbara Schlachter, who is married to the reverend, believes the event was successful in uniting the community.

“It gives me hope that people want to build bridges of reconciliation and peace,” she said. “Coming together is something very important, we can get so isolated and hateful in our own little circles.”

Ken Hochstedler, a Peace Iowa member from Washington, Iowa, said the important thing was to not only reflect but continue to look toward the future.

“It really did inspire me — touch me — to be with the people here but also to look ahead,” he said. “We all have our part to play.”


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