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President asks all to remember today

| Friday, Sept. 14, 2001

Services scheduled
President Bush declared today a National Day of Prayer and asked Americans to spend their lunch breaks taking part in services.

'I call on every American family and the family of America to observe a national day of prayer and remembrance, honoring the memory of the thousands of victims of these brutal attacks and comforting those who lost loved ones,' Bush said in the proclamation.

He suggested noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils. He further encouraged employers to permit workers time off to attend noontime services.

Several area churches announced special services to be held today:

  • Community Prayer Service, Otterbein United Methodist Church, 201 Lincoln Ave., Connellsville, noon.

  • Community Prayer Service, First Church of God, 157 N. Second St., West Newton, sponsored by West Newton Association of Churches, 7 p.m.

  • Prayer Vigil, in front of the Fayette County Courthouse, 3 p.m., sponsored by Fayette County National Day of Prayer Committee.
  • President George Bush has declared today a national day of remembrance. 'All our hearts have been seared by the sudden and senseless taking of innocent lives,' said Bush. 'We pray for healing and for the strength to serve and encourage one another in hope and faith.'

    Bush will pray at the National Cathedral in Washington and many local observances will occur.

    Fayette County commissioners have asked residents to wear red, white and blue as a demonstration of patriotism and requested everyone write letters supporting the actions of President Bush and legislators.

    Commissioners have also adopted a resolution that supports the actions of the President and 'wants the people of the United States to stand tall and proud.'

    An ecumenical community prayer service at noon in Connellsville's Otterbein United Methodist church has been organized to honor President Bush's call, according to Otterbein pastor, the Rev. Elmer Reamer. 'During a time of national crisis, communities need to come together for prayer, support and resolution.'

    The service will 'invoke God's blessing on the victims, the bereaved, emergency crews, our military personnel, the President, congressional leaders and freedom-loving people throughout the world,' said Reamer.

    The Fayette County Chapter of the National Day of Prayer will hold a prayer vigil at 3 p.m. on the steps of the county courthouse in Uniontown, according to chairman Pat Crouse. 'We're responding to the President's setting aside today as a National Day of Prayer for the crisis we're in.'

    Solid Rock Church in Connellsville will be open until 2 p.m. for private prayer. 'We plan to devote our Sunday service to continued prayer, mourning, lifting up our nation,' said Pastor Mark Van Bibber. 'As President Bush said, we should mourn as a nation for all these fellow Americans and that's where we need to focus. This is a national disaster and it's going to take us as a nation praying doing whatever we need to do.

    'I think it's good the President has set aside a day of prayer,' he continued. 'This nation has a soul and I have heard so many great stories of heroism and self-sacrifice.'

    Area schools will also participate in observances.

    Sister Marguerite Coyne, superintendent of Catholic Schools, Diocese of Greensburg, said, 'I know the schools have had the students in church and had prayer in their classrooms. I have sent a communication asking all schools to intentionally pray for the people who have been involved in this tragedy as well as praying for peace throughout the world.'

    In addition to special prayers, Geibel Catholic High School, Connellsville, has asked all students and staff to wear red, white and blue today.

    Connellsville Area School District Superintendent Gerald Browell said, 'We'll do something, something appropriate at each building, whatever the President requests.'

    At Connellsville Area High School, the students will proceed back to their homerooms at approximately 10:45 a.m. for a prayer statement and the singing of 'God Bless America.'

    Principal Robert McLuckey reported that although the school wants to pay its respects to the victims and support the President's wishes, he doesn't want to disrupt the routine of the school day too much, especially after the way the school day ended yesterday. Students were sent home with an early dismissal after a bomb threat was called into the school early in the afternoon.

    'We want to keep it simple and keep school as normal as possible today,' said McLuckey.

    An e-mail message has been traveling around the country, asking everyone to 'step out your door, stop your car, or step out of your establishment and light a candle at 7 tonight. We will show the world that Americans are strong and united together against terrorism.'

    Connellsville Mayor Tom Duncan said that he supports the President's call for an observance. He and Deputy Police Chief Charles Mills have decided to make the national tragedy a time to reach out to children. Duncan said that in the very near future, Mills 'will be going into the schools with an anti-terrorism program to comfort children, let them know the officers are looking out for them and they'll be safe.'

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