LOWER MAKEFIELD >> The Lower Makefield Supervisors on Feb. 3 voted unanimously to appoint Ellen Saracini, Judi Reiss and Danielle Frost to the township’s newly formed 9-11 Anniversary Remembrance Committee.
The committee is charged with planning events that will mark the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks that killed close to 3,000 people in New York City, Washington, D.C., and western Pennsylvania, including 17 from Bucks County and nine from Lower Makefield.
The commemoration will take place on Friday, September 10, Saturday, September 11 and Sunday, September 12, 2021 at the Garden of Reflection inside Memorial Park on Woodside Road.
Traditionally the day has been marked by a morning ceremony with the ringing of a fire bell and an evening candlelight ceremony with remarks and special music.
“September 11th is not only a time for family members to remember, but for our whole community,” said Saracini.
Saracini’s husband, Victor, was the pilot of United Airlines 175 when it was hijacked by terrorists and flown into the south tower of the World Trade Center.
Since then, Saracini has fought to increase the safety of commercial flights and prevent another 9-11 hijacking from taking place. She successfully lobbied for passage of the Saracini Aviation Safety Act, which mandates the installation of secondary barriers between the cockpit and the cabin of the plane on all newly manufactured commercial aircraft.
Among the 2,977 people killed on 9/11 were 246 passengers and crew members aboard four planes hijacked by 19 terrorists who had breached the cockpits.
Saracini was also instrumental in planning and fundraising for the 9-11 Garden of Reflection, built in memory of all those who perished in the 9-11 terror attacks. She has continued her involvement with the garden, working tirelessly to create an endowment fund to ensure the future of the memorial.
Reiss’s son, Joshua, was working as a bond trader at Cantor Fitzgerald on the 102nd floor of One World Trade Center when hijackers flew a plane into the building. He was killed when the towers collapsed.
Reiss, a native of Georgia and a longtime township resident, is a former township supervisor and is now serving as the Bucks County Prothonotary.
“I want this to be something that Grace (Godshalk) will look down from where she is and be proud of us for making sure that her son, Bill, is remembered along with Vic and Josh and the other family members,” said Reiss.
Godshalk was serving as a Lower Makefield Supervisor when tragedy struck on 9/11. Her son, William, was working as a vice president at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in the World Trade Center when a plane struck the center. He died when the towers collapsed.
Godshalk devoted the rest of her life to creating and maintaining the Garden of Reflection and making sure that no one forgot her son and the other innocent people who lost their lives that day. She passed away in December 2018.
Frost moved to Lower Makefield one year before the 9-11 tragedy. In 2017, her daughter, Elayna, created “A Kids Guide to Discovering the Garden of Reflection” and held tours at the garden for children. It was part of her Girl Scout Silver Award project.
“I was born and raised in New Jersey. For me going into New York City almost every weekend and then attending college in New York City I used to see the Trade Towers every morning. And 20 years ago I couldn’t fathom what was happening in our world,” said Frost. “It’s an important event to acknowledge. And for me, it seems like yesterday. I can only imagine what Judi and Ellen feel. I would love to be part of the committee that brings this anniversary to the township and to the state of Pennsylvania.”
The committee will include a core group of seven voting members, including several family members. It will meet throughout the coming year preparing for the commemoration. After submitting a final report next fall the committee will disband no later than Nov. 15, 2021.