LOWER MAKEFIELD >> A social distancing remembrance event at the Garden of Reflection will mark the 19th anniversary of the Sept. 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks on America. And the public is invited to participate.
“We didn’t want to cancel,” said Lower Makefield Parks and Recreation Director Monica Tierney, who helps organize the 9/11 ceremonies at the garden every year. “It’s important that we pay our respects, remember the enormity of the loss we suffered that day and keep the memory alive of what happened on one of America’s most tragic days. But we didn’t want to create a situation where an unknown number of people were gathering in the space. Whatever we did we had to make sure everyone is safe.”
So in lieu of the traditional in-person ceremonies, a drive-through event will take place Friday evening, Sept. 11 to mark the anniversary of the terrorist attack, which claimed close to 3,000 lives in New York City, Western Pennsylvania and in Washington, D.C., including 17 from Bucks County and nine from Lower Makefield.
“Cars will drive through and you’ll tune to a radio station where you will hear music and speeches by clergy and family members,” said Tierney. “You’ll be able to see the steel beams from the World Trade Center and see the fountains in the background. And luminaries will light the way into the park,” she said.
The remembrance ceremony, like the garden, is a reminder that “After darkness, there is light.”
The garden is designed to be a journey starting with the darkness of that day, represented by the steel remnants from the World Trade Center, to the light, represented by the twin fountains cascading toward the heavens.
In addition to the remembrance event, visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour through The Garden of Reflection, Pennsylvania’s official 9/11 memorial, where they can pay tribute to the 2,973 victims of the 9/11 attacks and stroll through the Oak Garden Arboretum where they will find continued peace and tranquility.
The garden’s twin fountains will remain on until September 21 to mark the anniversary. Visitors are asked to be mindful of social distancing while in the park and to wear a mask when unable to remain six feet away from others.
Visitors should also be aware that work to restore the walking trails in the back of the Garden and throughout the Oak Garden continues in preparation for the upcoming 20th anniversary next year. As a result some of the work remains incomplete, but the paths remain walkable.
On September 11th, the fountains at the Garden will be on and visitors are encouraged to visit the memorial in the morning and afternoon, but will be asked to leave the park between 5 and 6 p.m. in preparation for the evening ceremony.
“We won’t be having the annual morning observance, but the fountains will be on and people will be encouraged to visit and to ponder the events of that day,” said Tierney.
Beginning at 7 p.m., a “drive through” Remembrance Procession begins at Memorial Park at 1950 Woodside Road, Yardley 19067.
The Mid-Atlantic Event Group has donated its services to help organize the remembrance evening.
Those who are unable to attend can watch live footage of the remembrance procession and hear the speeches by watching Verizon (Channel 20) and Comcast (Channel 22) or tuning to Social Media, including Facebook: www.facebook.com/LowerMakefieldTownshipand YouTube: www.youtube.com/channel/UCOq0e9VmBEZppWBFJbI9uAA
To donate to The Garden of Reflection Remembrance Fund Endowment, visit www.9-11memorialgarden.org/ And mark your calendar for two upcoming fundraisers.
On September 13, the annual GOR 5K/Walk steps off at 9 a.m. in support of the Remembrance Endowment Fund. The in-person 5K is limited to 200 and will be split into corals of 25 runners each.
Participants will be required to meet social distancing and mask wearing requirements.
All participants receive the custom designed 2020 Garden of Reflection 5K race shirt. There will be no race day registration. Register online only by Friday, September 4 at GOR5K.com
A virtual run will also take place between Sept. 11 and 14 for those who prefer that option.
Participants can take part in the virtual run from anywhere in the world and at any time that fits their schedule. Registration is open through Sunday, September 13. All virtual participants receive the custom designed 2020 Garden of Reflection 5K race shirt. (Note: there are no medals this year).
All participants will also be eligible for prizes selected by random drawing during the virtual challenge.
For questions, call 215-802-4132.To register and more information about the in- person and virtual events, visit GOR5K.com.
And looking ahead, the annual 9-11 Memorial Golf Outing tees-off on Monday, October 12 at the Jericho National Golf Club in honor of Dave Fleming & Shady Brook Farm in recognition of their support over the years.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some changes this year: Number of golfers will be capped at 108 (versus 140). No shotgun start. A box brunch will be provided before golf. An outdoor BBQ & Open Bar (3 drink tickets) will await you when you come in from the course. Beer and snacks available on the course. Very limited silent auction. Two golfers per cart, you can request a separate cart for an additional fee.
Anyone who may feel uncomfortable attending the outing, consider participating in the Virtual “Never Forget” option. Play a round at your home course and make a donation to The Garden. (The suggested contribution is the $225 registration fee).
Janney Montgomery Scott, LLC is the Title Sponsor of this year's outing along with McCaffrey’s Markets, the outing's BBQ sponsor.
The 9-11 Memorial Garden of Reflection is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law. For information or to register, email email@example.com