Service to remember 9/11 at The War Memorial

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published September 4, 2019

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FARMS — It remains one of the most horrific tragedies in American history, and this year The War Memorial in Grosse Pointe Farms will honor the thousands of lives lost during the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks with a free community service on the lakefront back lawn at 8:30 a.m. Sept. 11.

The event has received support from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan. It will include a reading of the names of Michiganders who died during the attacks, along with moments of silence at 8:46 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., when the two planes crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City. Nearly 3,000 people — including first responders — were killed during attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia on that fateful day.

“Everyone remembers where they were the morning of Sept. 11, 2001,” said War Memorial President and CEO Charles Burke in a press release. “The significant sorrow and echoing grief left in the lives of so many families are still felt today, 18 years later. The War Memorial is humbled that the Wilson Legacy Funds of the Community Foundation recognizes our unwavering commitment to patriotism, as we come together in remembrance and solidarity of the lives we lost that day, as well as salute our first responders who continue to put their lives on the line every day to protect and enhance the safety of our nation.”

Organizers hope to unite people of varying backgrounds and faiths to stand against hatred. Speakers will include people of different faiths talking about their responses to violence and ways to create harmony across the globe.

“We are pleased to support The War Memorial’s service to commemorate the anniversary of 9/11,” said Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, in a press release. “One of the interests of Ralph Wilson was Grosse Pointe, and we believe Mr. Wilson would find this as a fitting way to pay tribute in his hometown community.”

Brooks Hoste, the foundation’s vice president of community engagement and programming, said in an email interview that this is something they’d like to offer in some fashion as an annual event.

“Over the years, The War Memorial has recognized the events of Sept. 11, 2001, in varied and meaningful ways, but this service of remembrance will be the first larger-scale public event in recent memory,” Hoste said. “As a patriotic leader, we feel it’s of vast importance to provide space for our community to come together in remembrance of and solidarity against the hatred that fueled the horrific events of 9/11, and to foster a conversation about ways in which humankind can prevent similar atrocities in the future. The War Memorial is very honored to have received funding from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Legacy Funds of the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, which makes possible not only this 9/11 service of remembrance, but all of our patriotic programming for the 2019-20 season.”

One of the Michigan natives whose names will be read is of special significance to The War Memorial, which exists because lumber baron Russell Alger Jr. donated his estate to the community in 1949. David Alger, who was born in California in 1943 and grew up in the Pointes, was the son of Frederick Moulton Alger Jr., a former Michigan secretary of state from 1947 to 1952 and the grandson of Russell Alger Jr. Hoste said David Alger received a degree in history from Harvard University and an MBA from the University of Michigan.

“David was the chief executive of Fred Alger Management, which was housed on the 93rd floor of the World Trade Center’s north tower,” Hoste said. “Thirty-five Alger employees lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks.”

He said they hope those who attend this event “will be moved, inspired or called to action in their own personal way.”

Hoste said they anticipate the service will last about 30 to 40 minutes. In the event of inclement weather, it will be moved into The War Memorial’s ballroom. If they need to move the service indoors, Hoste said, they will post that information on The War Memorial’s website and social media channels.

Chairs will be provided, and no reservations are needed.

The War Memorial is located at 32 Lake Shore Road in Grosse Pointe Farms. For more information, call (313) 881-7511 or visit www.warmemorial.org.