Jersey Shore illuminates Main Street for 9/11 victims
Two-thousand nine-hundred and seventy-seven.
That’s the number of victims who died on Sept. 11, 2001 during the attacks on America.
And that’s the number of luminaries Jersey Shore Borough residents set up and lit at Veterans Park and Tollhouse Park, on either side of North Main St., Saturday night in remembrance of those who fell.
Jersey Shore Major Abbey Welker launched the luminary lighting to give Jersey Shore an outlet to show remembrance for the victims of the attack.
“Patriotism and kindness start in small towns, and around 200 people came out to do their part,” Welker said. “I would like to thank our community for coming out and showing what our small town is all about.”
Welker also thanked Independent Hose Co. for helping set up 13 extra flags to remember the names of the servicemen who died in the Aug. 26 suicide bombing in Afghanistan.
State Rep. Joe Hamm, who served as Jersey Shore’s borough manager for nine years, attended the event.
“Jersey Shore represents smalltown America. It’s an honor to be here,” Hamm said. “We do this so we can never forget. We need to honor and remember those in uniform we lost.”
Lycoming County Commissioner Scott Metzger also attended the event. He read a poem questioning where God was during the Sept. 11 attacks.
The poem, written by an unknown author, answers that God created obstacles for people to be late for work, or miss a train, or cancel a flight ticket to avoid danger.
Metzger recognized members of the Independent Hose Co. for their work in keeping the borough safe.
“These are our heroes,” Metzger said.
Rev. Dean Olson ended the night’s service with a prayer discussing unity and compassion.
“We are proud as Americans for those who stepped up to serve the country,” Olson said.
Gene McCloskey, a 92-year-old veteran of both the Korean War and Vietnam conflict, said the gesture brings back a lot of feelings.
“It brings tears to my eyes,” McCloskey said.
Bobby Rishel, who previously served his community as a firefighter for 12 years, said 9/11 hits home.
“It was awesome for them to do this,” Rishel said.
LeeAnne Rauch and Jody Jolin, borough residents, both came out to show hometown support in remembering the Sept. 11 attacks on America.
“It was emotional. Just emotional. We just watched TV and cried,” Rauch said. “We watch the motorcycle ride too. We have lots of family connections with the fire company.”
The two thought it was great the schools talked about the attacks as well, given there is a 20-year generation of youth who were not alive when the attacks occurred.
“They weren’t alive, but they’re asking questions,” Rauch said.