Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Steamboat Springs A call for peace rang loud and clear Wednesday night.
It echoed in the hushed prayers and quiet meditations of people determined not to give hate and violence the last word. It lingered on the lips of those who spoke of fallen friends and strangers. The anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, prompted people of different faiths to lay aside doctrinal distinctions and come together for an evening of remembrance and hope in Yampa River Botanic Park.
"We pray for healing for all those whose lives were shattered," said the Rev. George Schroeder of Holy Name Catholic Church. "We pray for peace for our country and our world."
Schroeder held high a lighted candle as he prayed. The light rain had no effect on its intensity, just as it had no effect on the fervor of people who addressed the crowd.
A few read another's writing. One person shared from personal experience. Many others could not mask their emotion.
Representatives from the Jewish and Buddhist communities also offered words of encouragement.
Julie Tucek, representing the Buddhist community, shared some insight from the Dalai Lama.
Different faiths may have different means to an end, she said, but they all share the same end.
Harriet Freiberger, representing the Jewish community, described how those who died in the terrorist attacks were now a part of the living.
In time, she said, tears shed over violent acts would water the seeds of hope and sprout new beginnings.
Jannike Combs, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, spoke on behalf of youth in the community and asked the crowd to embrace a fresh start.
"A thing so disastrous, so painful and ending/Can't just be forgotten, it must have some beginning," she read from a poem she composed for the interfaith service.
Her poem, "9/11 Resolution," chronicles people's changing attitudes toward Sept. 11 and challenges them not to lapse into their prior selfish ways of living.
"Resolve to live better, after you've cried/It's the one way to honor those who have died."
A small number of victims were individually honored. A few dozen people lined up to speak some of the names of friends and strangers who died last Sept. 11.
The evening recognized police, fire, rescue and military personnel. Local firefighters, police officers and emergency responders were acknowledged and thanked for their dedication and service.