The Valley reflects two years later |

The Valley reflects two years later

Carrie Click
Post Independent Staff

CARBONDALE – About 65 people gathered in Sopris Park Thursday evening to remember those who died Sept. 11 two years ago in the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

The crowd listened to speakers and singers as they took the stage at Ben Reed Gazebo. Meanwhile, children played on the swings in the park’s playground and a group of men played a volleyball game in the opposite end of the park.

Mayor Michael Hassig reminded the crowd, “the people who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, were just like us, with credit card debt and crazy relatives,” generating a warm round of laughter.

“Our grief is real,” he said. “Our shock and disbelief have given way to cries for retribution. We need to look within ourselves to find the strength to plan and to hope for the future.”

The Rev. Marie Gasau, minister at Basalt Community United Methodist Church, shared the Golden Rule as it appears in different religions.

“Christianity says to ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them,” she said. “And in Judaism, the Talmud says, `What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man.’ Islam says that no one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.”

Gasau continued, “There is no truth until there is justice for all people. To be people of peace we have to live each day with peace, and we need to work in our communities to be people of truth and justice.”

The Earthbeat Children’s Choir sang about war and peace, lost family members and everyday heroes before Peter Larrowe, a World War II veteran, told the crowd, “War is hell. It’s hell for soldiers, civilians, and especially women and children.”

He said even though 9-11 wasn’t a traditional war, America has sought to find the guilty and put an end to terrorism.

“But this won’t bring justice,” he said. “It will never be enough. The terrorists will be replaced. There will be more attacks. What is the solution to terrorism?

“I think we need to ask why they hate us. We need to learn their reasons. We owe it to the victims to find out why men would want to die horribly in order to kill others. We must listen and dialog and reach out.

“And we must support the United Nations,” Larrowe said. “Reform it if you must, and strengthen it. It is our greatest hope for peace on earth.”

Calvin Lee, the founder of the Roaring Fork Peace Coalition, told the crowd that Sept. 11 is a day to reflect, and also a day to eliminate violence in the world.

“I saw James Woolsey on television the other night,” he said of the former CIA director in the Clinton administration. “The interviewer asked him what the United States should do that it’s not doing in the war on terrorism.

“Woolsey, who’s known as being pretty conservative, said that we need to ask the American people to sacrifice, just like they sacrificed during World War II. He said we need to stop driving our SUVs, and to stockpile gasoline so we’re not dependent on the Middle East for oil.

“Woolsey said America is asking soldiers to sacrifice their lives, but the American people haven’t sacrificed first. That’s a way to honor the victims of 9-11,” Lee said.

Following music by singer/guitarist John Adams, the Rev. Lauren Martin of the Glenwood Mennonite Church asked the crowd to stand, form a circle and hold hands. He recited the prayer of St. Francis and the crowd repeated each line after him.

“It is in giving we receive,” the group said. “It is in pardoning we are pardoned.”

Scott Chaplin, who acted as a master of ceremonies during the event, reminded the crowd of the many 9-11-type terrorist attacks that have occurred all over the world. He spoke of a group called Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who lost family members in the 9-11 attacks, and seek peaceful solutions to the current war on terror.

With dusk approaching, singer Rich Ganson finished the ceremony with his version of “It’s a Wonderful World.” People lit candles and clicked on flashlights as the park darkened and gave way to night.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

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