When John Buchanan was asked eight months ago to recruit and chair a committee to plan a North Canton event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, he never imagined the community would support the initiative with such vigor.
The former clergyman was approached by the Rev. Steve Stultz Costello, co-pastor of the to organize the commemoration’s activities with the help of area Christians, Jews and Muslims and representatives of local schools and organizations.
“This event really took on a life of its own quickly. The more people who found out about it, the more there were who wanted to be a part of it,” Buchanan said. “There are powerful memories of 9-11. People want to talk civilly about what we have learned since then, and what we in the North Canton area can do about it now. It is also evident the people of this area courageously want to celebrate our diversity as American citizens and be good neighbors.”
He said the committee began with Hazzan Bruce Braun, Rabbi Emeritus John Spitzer and Suzanne Steiglitz of Temple Israel and Shaaray Torah Synagogue; Dr. Khurram Butt, Dr. Raza Khan, and Mahmood Soorma of the Islamic Center of Cuyahoga Falls and; Steve Moore and Beth Wilson of Faith United Methodist Church; Dr. Michael Gleason of the North Canton Ministerial Association; Doug Lane, President of the and Dr. Nancy Blackford, Vice President of Academic Programs at .
“The planning committee chose three themes: remembering, reflecting and renewing. As the committee began to develop these themes, many organizations began to assist in the activities of each theme,” Buchanan said.
“Walsh University is extremely pleased that varied faculty, staff and students will participate in this important series of community events,” Blackford said. “The themes of the day have already taken on significance for the planners, as we have worked and learned together and have seen one group after another join in the spirit of the day’s planned activities.”
The committee has several activities planned for the commemoration, which begins at noon on Sept. 10, including a service of remembrance, panel discussion, street fair and picnic. (Click to view the time, location and description of each activity planned for Sept. 10.)
North Canton residents Dennis and Marilyn Weaver, whose son Todd lost his life in the World Trade Center on 9-11, and local Army Blackhawk Pilot Staff Sgt. Christopher Cashell, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, specifically will be part of the day, Buchanan said.
He encourages residents of all ages to attend each activity.
“It is important to remember what actually happened and learn from it and honor those who lost their lives on the 10th anniversary and those who are involved in the ongoing war on terrorism,” he said.
Blackford also wants to see high attendance at the commemoration, especially among young people.
“Those of us who teach or lead students want them to join us with enlightened hearts and minds in making our town and our world safe and nurturing,” she said. “Better understanding of one another can help.”
Buchanan said the 9-11 commemoration, the first of its kind in North Canton, is taking place on Sept. 10 so North Canton residents also can attend the countywide event at 6 p.m., Sept. 11 at the McKinley Monument in Canton.