In Montgomery County, two homages to the events of Sept. 1, 2001 presented different ways of remembering a national tragedy now 10 years old.
For the American Legion in Wheaton, Sept. 11 is a deeply personal day, the memories of those who died still fresh, and its 10th anniversary stood as a way to honor them.
For a church in Rockville, Sunday was a time to strengthen bonds among the cultures living in its community.
The members of Wheaton’s American Legion leaned on tradition with a solemn ceremony for those who died that day, complete with their own color guard, renditions of “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace,” and the dedication of a bronze memorial plaque.
“I thought we needed to do something as a remembrance, to let the future know we won’t forget,” said Linda Sarkisian, president of Wheaton’s American Legion Auxillary Unit.
The Rev. Lynn Strauss of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville organized an interfaith service for the occasion. She invited musicians and speakers from Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, Buddhist and secular communities to participate in hopes of recapturing an opportunity to bridge a gap between religions that she said presented itself after 9/11.
“There was a window there to reach across the world and close the divide [between cultures],” she said. “We’re looking at [Sunday] as another opportunity.”
Richard Lederman, a speaker at the service and board member of Rockville's Israel Tikvat synagogue, said while the event was focused on spreading a message of tolerance and diversity, it was also a celebration of how 9/11 helped the local religious community come together. Lederman cited the Interfaith Council — a collection of religious groups — as an example of how such groups have come to spend more time working together on issues in Montgomery County since 2001.
The 10-year anniversary of 9/11 was honored personally in Montgomery County as well. Roger Atkinson of Silver Spring said he was taking his two daughters, ages 9 and 11, to the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C., for a lesson on American history and 9/11.
“I thought we should do something fun, and I wanted to talk to them about [9/11],” he said. “It seemed like a good day to do it.”