Nineteen years ago, Sept. 11 dawned clear as a bell on the East Coast. By 9:03 a.m., when the second plane hijacked by terrorists slammed into Tower Two of the World Trade Center in New York City, it was clear for the world to see that the United States was under attack by a foreign foe.
Five years ago in Fairfield, Anthony Venzin constructed a beautiful plaza with flag standards as part of his Eagle Scout project. The plaza is the perfect place on the west-facing slope of Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish, where the ten-mile vista over the Carroll Valley is truly scenic.
This year on Sept. 11, more than 100 faithful gathered for the rededication of the plaza with Anthony and his family present. Local political officials and the president of nearby Mount Saint Mary’s University – Retired Brigadier General Timothy Trainor – were present to honor the Venzin family’s commitment to never forgetting the horrors of that fateful day 19 Septembers ago.
When momentous historical moments occur, we tend to remember where we were and what we felt. Multiple speakers shared their testimonies of shock and terror they experienced that sunny day.
Missionaries of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary Father Chris Onyeneke celebrated Holy Mass prior to the re-dedication, and his brother priest and parish pastor Father Peter DiTomasso delivered remarks to close the
powerful ceremony that also featured musical renditions of the National Anthem and God Bless America, which brought tears to many of those gathered.
“We are so grateful that this plaza is here,” Father DiTomasso said. “It is up to you to spread the word that this beautiful memorial is here at St. Mary’s, and everybody, everybody is welcome to come here.”
The plaza’s most powerful living testament to the spirit that lives on from Sept. 11, 2001, is the 10-foot high swamp white oak tree that came from an acorn from “The Living Tree,” which miraculously survived the debris and collapse of the Twin Towers. Underneath this tree is soil from Shanksville, Pa., the Pentagon and New York City at Ground Zero, all of which was donated to this project by the 9/11 Memorial Commission.
Spread the word; it is clearly worth seeing in Fairfield.
By Chris Heisey, The Catholic Witness