ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — A community event – rooted in faith, patriotism, and civic pride – is being held at the Jaffa Shrine in Altoona to honor the lives lost and the heroes of Sept. 11, 2001.
Among the highlights will be a Walk of Honor, recognizing local police officers, firefighters, medical workers, military members, and religious leaders.
“We are especially proud to acknowledge the bravery and support of those individuals,” said Tony DeGol, a member of the 9/11 anniversary committee. “They are everyday heroes who make our community safer and stronger, and it is our privilege to salute them.”
The committee valued faith, patriotism, and pride when it also came to planning the ceremony. DeGol says that he hopes everyone walks out with a sense of pride and patriotism.
“This event tonight really gives our friends and neighbors the chance to come together, to remember, to honor,” DeGol said. “And hopefully to walk away with a true feeling of pride and patriotism.”
The featured speaker will be Jim O’Bryon, a national defense and security consultant who held a senior position at the Pentagon at the time of the 9/11 attacks and survived the assault on the building. He even brought two newspapers from the Washington Post, one showing the headline the day of the attacks and the second showing the day after, emphasizing how it changed the nation.
But Jim’s message connected to one of the committee’s goals about educating the young people about the attacks, especially those born after 2001. The 9/11 20th Anniversary committee chair, Duane Bordell, says they hope that the ceremony will lead to a grant set up for educating young folks.
“So, it’s our purpose after tonight’s program to have a grant program set up through the Central PA Community Foundation,” Bordell says. “Which we will have monies available for grants that are applied for and honored for that purpose.”
Jim Worthing and Kera O’Bryon were among the featured vocalists. Worthing is a singer/songwriter from Nashville; O’Bryon, originally of Bel Air, Maryland, is a singer, actress, and voice-over artist who began performing with her family at the age of three.
Also featured at the event were the Altoona Youth Orchestra, the Altoona Community Band, and the Hollidaysburg Community Chorus.
“Besides the powerful presentations and beautiful music, this event allows Central Pennsylvanians to come together to remember the lives lost on that fateful day, to recognize the sacrifices made since then, and to celebrate our pride in America,” DeGol added.
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