"Patriot Day -- Lincoln Remembers"
Mayor Don Wesely today encouraged Lincoln area residents to observe the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America by attending "Patriot Day Lincoln Remembers," a community memorial ceremony at 7 p.m. Wednesday, September 11 at the Pinewood Bowl in Pioneers Park. The event will feature music by the 50-member 43rd Army Band based in Lincoln and a naturalization ceremony for new American citizens.
"In designating September 11 as 'Patriot Day' in our country, the United States Congress asked local governments to observe the day with appropriate programs," said Mayor Wesely. "We believe it is important for the community to come together to honor and remember those who lost their lives in the attacks and to reflect on what it means to be an American."
Special guests at the event will be area family members who lost loved ones in the attacks, local fire and law enforcement personnel and others in the community who assisted in recovery operations. Federal officials will conduct the naturalization ceremony for a group of about 20 immigrants, who will take the oath of allegiance and become U.S. citizens.
"Lincoln is recognized nationally as a welcoming community for those from other countries who choose to become Americans," said Mayor Wesely. "The naturalization ceremony will symbolize the fundamentals our country was founded on -- liberty and justice for all."
Speakers will include Mayor Wesely and Governor Mike Johanns. Members of Nebraska's U.S. Congressional delegation have been invited to speak. The program will also include the singing of the national anthem, the playing of "Taps," bagpipe music, the Pledge of Allegiance led by Boy Scout Troop 911 and an honor guard. Complete program details will be announced at a later date, and information will be available on the City web site at www.lincoln.ne.gov.
The capacity of Pinewood Bowl, built to honor World War II veterans, is about 8,000 people. In case of rain, the event will be moved to Pershing Center. To minimize traffic, the public is encouraged to car pool and to arrive early. The gates at Pinewood Bowl will open at 6 p.m. Beginning at 6:15, patriotic music will be presented on stage by the 75-woman Lincolnaire Show Chorus and the Scarlet and Cream Singers from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln. The first 3,000 people attending will receive small flags. StarTran will also provide transportation from downtown Lincoln to Pinewood Bowl, and details will be announced at a later date.
Because the event is on a weekday night during the school year, the program is scheduled to end by 8:30 p.m. A designated seating area and an interpreter will be provided for those with hearing impairments. Pinewood Bowl is handicapped accessible. Families are welcome to bring lawn chairs and blankets. Candles will not be allowed.
Mayor Wesely is also supporting the State of Nebraska's plan for observing the anniversary by asking citizens to display their flags and to donate blood for a one-month period beginning August 12. Mayor Wesely is scheduled to donate blood at 1:30 p.m. August 21, just before the grand opening of the new Community Blood Bank facility in downtown Lincoln.
Mayor Wesely also supports the observance of the first-ever National Civic Participation Week September 11 through 17. Locally, activities are being coordinated by Volunteer Partners (435- 2100) and the United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County (441-7760).
In his proclamation designating September 11, 2002 as "Patriot Day" in Lincoln, Mayor Wesely said citizens can honor the memories of those who lost their lives by "resolving to be good citizens, to volunteer to help others, to respect all cultures and to work toward global peace and goodwill."
The Mayor thanked the volunteer steering committee of about 40 individuals which has been planning the event. Local charitable agencies have asked that no fund-raising efforts be conducted in connection with the event.
Those wanting more information on the event, can contact the Mayor's Office at 441-7511.