Gearing up for 10th anniversary of Sept. 11

Blog Image 982908 - Reed
Volunteers string handmade hearts, one for each of the 2,973 victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, at the Garden of Reflection. (Bill Reed/Staff)

Volunteers worked against the clock and Mother Nature on Friday to prepare the Garden of Reflection in lower Bucks County for the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.  

2,973 colorful paper hearts, representing the victims of the attacks, were strung around the grounds of the memorial in Lower Makefield TownshipTara Bane DellaCorte, whose husband was killed in the World Trade Center, said that schoolchildren had decorated each heart and included a message to a victim. The hearts,  laminated to withstand the weather, will remain on display through September, she said.

Other workers landscaped the new stone entrance to the 5-acre garden, Pennsylvania’s official memorial for Sept. 11. Walls of Bucks County brownstone flanking the roadway were completed this week, and shrubs were being planted to greet the thousands of visitors expected this weekend.

The Wall of Remembrance, which was unveiled last Saturday, was nearly filled with visitors’ messages and mementoes, and a second three-sided Wall will be added Friday or Saturday, said Dave Fleming, owner of nearby Shady Brook Farm, who oversaw that project. Meanwhile, he swept dirt off a walkway, a remnant of this week’s torrential rains.

The preparations will lead up to Saturday’s Candle Light Vigil, with prayers, readings and songs starting at 7:30 p.m. Up to 1,000 visitors are expected, and everyone will get a candle, said Skip Gittens, who organized the making of 2,973 tapers for the weekend.

The remaining candles will be used Sunday for the annual Remembrance Ceremony, scheduled for 8:30 to 10:15. Bells will ring to mark the time of  the four terrorist attacks, and state Lt. Gov. James Cawley, a Bucks native, and radio talk-show host Michael Smerconish are scheduled to speak.

A U.S. flag that has been carried by plane over Ground Zero in New York, the Pentagon in Washington and Shanksville, Pa. will be raised on the garden’s flagpole.

The Garden is at 1950 Woodside Road, off Lindenhurst Road. Visitors will have to park at nearby Afton Elementary School at 1670 Quarry Road and catch a shuttle bus to the Garden. Buses will start at 7 a.m., and visitors are urged  to park at the school by 7:30 a.m.