By Jessica Valsi
This year marked the 10th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. The attacks took the lives of many, and shook the hearts of all Americans. Ten years later, the impact of those attacks echoes in lives, fears, and prayers in our communities. A large and diverse group of Youngstown community members gathered to reflect on the September 11th attacks of 2001, and to pray for peace and reconciliation. The prayer service was organized the Mahoning Valley Association of Churches and co-sponsored by the Interfaith Youth Core of Youngstown State University. Prayers were offered by Rabbi Daria Jacobs-Velde of Congregation Ohev Tzedek in Boardman, Julie Thomas of the Mahayana Tradition, Walid Abuasi of the Islamic Society of Greater Youngstown, and Rev. Bob Bonnot of the Christ our Savior Church in Struthers. Cary Dabney, president of the Interfaith Youth Core of Youngstown State University spoke, and the Youngstown Connection performance group provided musical entertainment. The event was attended by nearly 100 people of various faiths who joined in prayers and hymns together during the service. The service was held in the Butler North Church, Wick Ave., on the cityâ€™s North side.
IFYC president Cary Dabney addressed the audience with his heart on his sleeve as he appealed to the group for cooperation and reconciliation on the tenth anniversary of September 11th and every day onward. â€œMy grandfather told me when I was young that he had a dream that I was sitting in a room surrounded by great and honorable people. I have walked through life wondering at different times: Is this that moment? Is the moment my grandfather predicted? I know now for certain, that today is the day he dreamed about so long ago. I am so honored to be in this room with you all.â€
Each faith tradition took time to pray for the moral fortitude to face the world of intolerance and hatred that can at times be so overwhelming. They asked for patience, understanding, hope, and love to prosper in this time of deep sadness and reflection, and for the families personally affected by the tragic events of September 11th, 2001.