Military veterans and Island police, firemen and emergency medical technicians will take time out in the days ahead to remember the events of Sept. 11, 2001. This Sunday the services begin with the dedication of a new monument at Oak Grove Cemetery in Vineyard Haven, along the Avenue of Flags.
Observances are also planned for next Wednesday, a year after the tragic attacks in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. Island churches are planning services.
"I don't think anyone will forget what happened a year ago. It is going to stick with us forever," said Tony Bettencourt, Edgartown fire chief.
A parade from the American Legion Post in Vineyard Haven will march at 1 p.m. to the Avenue of Flags at Oak Grove Cemetery. The event, organized by the American Legion, will include veterans and representatives from the Island's public safety organizations.
A half-ton stone will be unveiled at the Avenue of Flags. The stone bears a bronze plaque that states: "In Memory of the Victims of Sept. 11, 2001."
Master of ceremonies for the event is JoAnn Murphy, commander for the Legion post. Three firemen will raise the American flag. Father John Ozug will lead a prayer.
The firemen will say the Firefighters' Prayer. Taps, the National Anthem and God Bless America will be played by trumpeters John Schilling, the Tisbury fire chief and Edson Rodgers.
The knee-high stone with its bronze plaque is being placed near the World War I memorial stone and the World War II, Korean and Vietnam memorial stone.
Ed Colligan, a past commander of the American Legion post and a veteran of the Korean War, said 330 American flags will be up at the cemetery. "We have 36 more names to add, but because of the shortage of flags we only have 330 flags."
Mr. Colligan, 72, said he came up with the idea of the stone back in October. "I asked the Legion if they would participate and they gave me the approval," he said.
The Tisbury special town meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 10, will have a moment of silence before it starts at 7:30 p.m. at the elementary school gym.
Main street in Vineyard Haven will be decorated Wednesday morning with a line of flags put up by members of the town department of public works.
The Edgartown fire department will hold a short observance on the morning of Sept. 11. Following guidelines suggested by the Fire Chiefs' Association of Massachusetts and other organizations, the firemen will bring all of their fire trucks out to the front of the station at 9:45 a.m. At 10 a.m. there will be an assembly of all the members of the department and their guests. At 10:05 a.m. there will be the ringing of a bell, a tribute to the time the South Tower at the World Trade Center in New York collapsed. The flag will be lowered to half-mast and there will be one minute of silence.
At 10:10 a.m., there will be a prayer by the chaplain and the firemen will read the Firefighters' Prayer. The flag will be raised and the department will return to service.
Several Island churches are also planning special observances. St. Andrew's Episcopal Church will be open, as it is every Wednesday. The Rev. Robert Edmunds said the church will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a midweek communion service at 12:05 p.m. "We will focus on making peace," Mr. Edmunds said.
At the Federated Church in Edgartown, Dr. Gerald R. Fritz, the pastor, will lead a service of remembrance and scripture at noon.
An interfaith peace and healing gathering is planned at the Unitarian Universalist Society on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m. Pastor Judith Campbell said, "We will lead a different kind of meditation" for people of all religions, from Islam to Christianity. "We will offer prayer stones of peace and healing and hope," she said. Participants will place a stone in a bowl of sea water. "Little stones will make ripples of peace. It all has to start somewhere."
The Rev. Alden Besse, a leader of the Vineyard Peace Council, is also participating. He said: "Our grief for what happened on Sept. 11, it should not be misunderstood as a cry for war. It must not be construed as an endorsement of war abroad or curtailment of civil liberties at home."
The tributes continue to the following weekend. The Dukes County Muster, postponed from summer because of the dry weather, takes place Sunday, Sept. 15, at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. There will be a parade at 11 a.m. starting at the Steamship Authority wharf.
Jeffrey Pratt, ambulance coordinator for the Tisbury Police Ambulance Service, said this year's muster is dedicated to the firefighters who gave their lives on Sept. 11, 2001. Paraders will march up Circuit avenue and will include firemen from Island towns except Aquinnah, as well as the towns of Upton and Carver.