In remembrance of those lost on 9/11

Hugh Fegely, Centurion Staff

They came by car, by bus,
and on foot. For miles they
came to remember those taken
a decade ago.
The overcast day matched
the somber mood of the people
who attended the ceremony
at the Garden of Reflection
in Yardley on Sunday, which
marked the 10-year anniversary
of the attacks that
changed the nation.
Thousands came, listening
to stories from friends and
loved ones of those Bucks
County residents lost that day,
and prayers from various clergy.
At the moment of impact
for each of the flights, a bell
was struck. It was also rung
18 times while the names of
the local victims were read
off.
Participants included members
of the Warriors Watch
motorcycle club, members of
local police, fire, and rescue
departments, airline employees,
as well as family, friends,
and other concerned local citizens.
Guest speakers included
family members of the victims,
Liuba Lashchyk (the
architect who designed the
Garden), and Lt. Col. Thomas
Armas (USMCR) – a survivor
and rescue worker from the
World Trade Center.
In a moving and emotional
speech, Lt. Col. Armas talked
about the day of the attack and
the efforts he participated in to
try and save people at the towers,
and spoke in reverence of
those who lost their lives in
western Pennsylvania. He said
they took their fate into their
own hands, saying, “Not here.
Not today. Not me.”
When finished, Lt. Col.
Armas returned to his seat
amid a standing ovation.
The Garden of Reflection
started in concept shortly after
the attacks, as a committee in
Lower Makefield Township
considered ways to honor the
nine township residents who
were lost.
The project quickly grew to
encompass the 18 residents of
Bucks County who were lost,
and, ultimately, all 2,973 victims.
Less than six months
after the attacks, family members
of the fallen set out to
locate an appropriate site for
the memorial, and came
across the location at what
used to be known as North
Park – an old American Flag
was found wedged in a bramble
along a stream, a clear
symbol to those searching.
The park was soon renamed
“Memorial Park,” and in
September 2006 the creation
of the Garden of Reflection
was completed and dedicated
for the fifth anniversary or the
attacks.
Conceived as a gathering
place filled with symbolism,
and representing a contemplative
journey of remembrance,
reflection, and healing, the
Garden of Reflection provides
visitors a memorial journey
from sorrowful reminders of
tragedy and grief, ending at a
fountain symbolizing hope,
peace, and a celebration of
life.
Starting with the entrance
area, a tall flagpole bears the
national flag, across from
which a tear-shaped forecourt
displays fragments from the
ruins of the World Trade
Center. From the forecourt the
pathway leads into the memorial
fountain, with a secondary
path spiraling away to encircle
the Wall of Remembrance.
Trees line the walkways; 18
maples represents the Bucks
County victims, and 58 redbud
trees represent the 58 victims
from Pennsylvania.
Among the trees are scattered
42 lamps, one for each
child from the state who lost a
parent. Two walls of remembrance
line the inner sanctum
of the memorial – one for the
2,973 victims of the attack
along the outer edge of the
fountain, and the second for
the Bucks County residents,
facing the twin fountains of
water which represent the
twin towers, rising from darkened
pits, symbolizing
renewed hope rising from
darkness.
At the end of the formal ceremonies,
attendees were taken
by rows away from the grandstand
to walk the paths of the
monument and lay flowers for
the fallen. Quietly the public
walked amongst the trees and
placards, discussing how they
felt now, a decade later, reliving
that fateful day.
Eventually, by groups and
alone, just as they had arrived,
attendees departed with
respectful quiet… on foot, by
bus, and by car.