The following article, from the Lebanon, PA, Daily News, reflects the 9/11 remembrance service held Sunday by New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church in Myerstown, pastored by this year’s FGBC Moderator, Keith Shearer.
In the Lebanon Valley and across the nation yesterday, Americans honored heroic first responders and memorialized the victims of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Grieving siblings of those who died at the World Trade Center returned to the site on the fourth anniversary of the nation’s worst terrorist attack, promising their dead brothers and sisters they would never be forgotten.
“My big sister, my better half, life will never be the same without you,” Rolando Moreno said to Yvette Moreno, who died in the attacks.
More than 600 siblings yesterday read aloud the names of the 2,749 victims who died at the complex four years ago. Thousands of relatives held pictures of their loved ones aloft, while others carried flowers. Some sobbed during the four-hour ceremony.
In Lebanon County, the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory in South Lebanon Township played host to a “Heroes Day,” and churches in Lickdale and Myerstown were among those that honored the fallen while supporting those who serve in their name.
At Ground Zero, the mourners paused for moments of silence at 8:46 a.m., the time when the first hijacked jetliner crashed into the north tower; at 9:03 a.m., when the second plane struck the south tower; at 9:59 a.m., when the south tower fell; and at 10:29 a.m., when the second tower collapsed.
“You were my baby brother. I took care of you,” Iliana Flores told her paramedic brother, Carlos Lillo, as she choked up and raised her face to the sky. “I still miss you a lot. You’re taking care of us from heaven, but someday we’ll be together.”
Tears sometimes swallowed their words as they read the names, and relatives in the crowd bowed their heads and cried as the siblings spoke. Several times, the brothers and sisters came in groups — sometimes six or seven large — to honor their loved one, all huddling together to say the name. Some blew kisses to the sunny, pale-blue sky, while others said over and over, “We love you. We miss you.”
As the names of the dead were read, weeping mourners filed down a ramp to a reflecting memorial pool at the floor of the site, which remains virtually empty four years after the attack tore a hole in the New York skyline. Families filled the water with red, orange and yellow roses, some families shaking as they inscribed dedications on the wooden edge of the pool.
“We miss you Charlie, and we love you. Your boys will always remember,” Peggy Garbarini told her brother, Fire Lt. Charles William Garbarini.
Parents and grandparents read the victims’ names at Ground Zero last year, while children’s voices were heard in 2003. A selection of politicians, relatives and others read the names on the first anniversary.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg opened the ceremony with words of condolence for those devastated by Hurricane Katrina and the July terrorist bombings in the London Underground.
“Today, as we recite the names of those we lost, our hearts turn as well toward London, our sister city, remembering those she has just lost as well,” he said. “And to Americans suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, our deepest sympathies go out to you this day.”
Lebanon Valley churches also marked the 9/11 anniversary with services that remembered the victims and honored local emergency responders for the daily heroism they demonstrate in protecting the community.
The congregation of New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church in Myerstown continued its tradition of marking 9/11 by honoring local first-responders and law-enforcement agents with a morning service attended by members of several area police and fire departments.