- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 11, 2004

Yesterday, the third anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia and the airliner crash in Shanksville, Pa., was a day of remembrances and celebrations.

Hundreds of people attended a special commemorative “Service for Peace” at the Washington National Cathedral in Northwest celebrated by the Right Rev. A. Theodore Eastman, vicar of the cathedral.

The Right Rev. John Bryson Chane, the Episcopal bishop of Washington and dean of the cathedral, delivered a sermon stressing God’s presence even in the midst of tragedy.

“God didn’t desert us or the nation on September 11. God was there in the ashes and the horror of it all,” Mr. Chane told about 400 parishioners in attendance.

“…God was there in the hearts of millions of mourners around the world who reached out to [us], ” he said.

“So today, God is with us poking and prodding us to think beyond revenge and war and reminding us in the tradition of great religions to love one another as God loves us. That is the only hope for humanity,” Mr. Chane said.

Some of the worshippers had come to tour the sixth largest cathedral in the world and stayed for the service, while others, such as Jennifer Newlin and her mother, Mary, traveled from their Northeast home specifically for the commemorative liturgy.

“We found out about the service on the cathedral’s Web site and decided to attend,” said Ms. Newlin, 29, who moved to the District in June with her family.

Three years ago, Ms. Newlin was a college student at the University of Memphis. Like many Americans, she watched the second plane crash into the World Trade Center, causing its collapse.

“I was drinking coffee and watching the ‘Today Show.’ I remember that morning I had a 9:40 class in ‘History of American Family’ and I ended up running to class because I became so engrossed in the [news] coverage,” Ms. Newlin said.

“I was the only person in my class who saw what happened on television and I informed all of my classmates and my professor, who had only heard radio accounts,” she recalled.

Ms. Newlin said a friend she attended college with lost five cousins in the World Trade Center tragedy. Another of her friend’s relatives was hospitalized for months for injuries suffered in the New York City attacks.

“It’s very personal,” she said.

Yesterday, as a tribute to those who lost their lives, she donned a T-shirt emblazoned with a picture of a cross surrounded by firefighters.

“What happened on 9/11 was traumatic,” said Tim Moore who works for the Arlington County Fire Department and regularly attends noon service at the Washington National Cathedral.

“I deeply regret what happened [on September 11, 2001] but, I’m more focused on Florida now. We’ve done as much as reasonably can be done to deal with September 11th,” Mr. Moore said.

“Thousands of people lost everything in Florida and I’m kind of focused on that — [Floridians] need us. We can’t do much for those we lost [on September 11], but pray for their souls,” he said.

Silver Spring yesterday held a jazz festival to remember September 11 victims and honor jazz artist Keter Betts. The festival, which started at 3 p.m., featured featuring a variety of local and national jazz musicians and poets. It is intended to become an annual event.

A high school jazz ensemble competition kicked off the day’s events with participants coming from James Hubert Blake High School, Montgomery Blair High School, both in Silver Spring, and Albert Einstein High School in Kensington.

The jazz caravan piled into the back of three large yellow dump trucks and circled slowly through downtown Silver Spring, as the bands played a variety of classic jazz hits. The bands acted as the festival’s Pied Piper, playing tunes through the streets of local Woodside and Sligo Creek neighborhoods, calling residents to follow them to the festival’s epicenter at Silver Plaza.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan took to the stage early during the festival, praising residents for coming out to enjoy themselves.

“It’s wonderful to see so many people here in downtown Silver Spring,” said Mr. Duncan, who then asked that the crowd “take time out, just for a second, just for a few minutes” to honor the victims of September 11. Eleven had been residents of Montgomery County.

After the moment of silence, Mr. Duncan officially declared September 11 Keter Betts Day in Montgomery County.

Mr. Betts has had a distinguished career, which included touring with jazz luminaries such as Duke Ellington and Charlie Parker. He is perhaps best known as Ella Fitzgerald’s sideman for more than 24 years.

The festival was very family friendly. In one corner not far from the main stage, large sheets of white paper were placed on the ground for children to draw on with crayons.

The ease of the crowd “shows that as a country we always remember, but we always grow and move on, too,” said Brian Shepard, a Silver Spring resident who came to the festival with his wife, Manjot, and their children Kabir, 3, and Simran, 5.

Mr. Shepard said yesterday was very significant for his family. “First, it’s my wife’s birthday,” he said. “It’s a day of celebration and a day of remembrance for us,” Mr. Shepard said, noting that both he and his wife are originally from New York City.

Phil Curtin, of Silver Spring, who came to the festival with his wife, Jane, and their sons Joey 4, and 18-month-old David, said the September 11 attacks really hadn’t crossed his mind. He said that’s probably a good thing. “It’s good that people can feel comfortable in an environment like this to come together in a big group like this, especially a group with so many people from different cultures.”

• Tarron Lively contributed to this article.

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