Vermonters plan new ways to remember September 11

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(Host) The third anniversary of the September 11 attacks falls on Saturday, and as VPR’s Steve Zind reports people are finding new ways to mark the occasion.

(Zind) For Don and Sally Goodrich of Bennington, the memories of September 11 will always be very personal and painful. The Goodrich’s 33-year-old son, Peter, was a passenger aboard the second plane to strike the World Trade Center. For the past two September 11 anniversaries, they’ve chosen to sequester themselves at Lake Dunmore – away from the news and the images of 9/11. Sally Goodrich says they won’t be going to the lake this year.

(Goodrich) “I wish I were up at Dunmore, I can tell you that. But in order to do this project, that’s something that we need to put behind us.”

(Zind) This year the Goodrichs have started a project to help a small struggling school in rural Afghanistan. They’re using money from a memorial fund started in Peter Goodrich’s name and they’re soliciting public donations, which can be sent to the First Congregational Church in Bennington.

The Goodriches’ effort is part of a national program called One Day’s Pay. The program was started two years ago to help keep alive the community spirit that flourished in the days after September 11. Sally Goodrich says the effort to help a faraway school is in keeping with that spirit.

(Goodrich) “The world is our community these days and a project in Afghanistan, in the schools, was perfectly appropriate.”

(Zind) Goodrich says the project would also appeal to her son, who she says was a compassionate man with a deep curiosity about other culture and religions.

There are other new ways in which September 11 is being commemorated in Vermont. Two Vermont libraries are taking part in the September Project – a nationwide effort to bring people together on September 11 to talk about democracy, citizenship and patriotism. At the Judevine Memorial Library in Hardwick people will be encouraged to sign a large facsimile of the Bill of Rights. Lisa Sammet is head librarian.

(Sammet) “A lot of people don’t read it or don’t know it anymore. Hopefully they’ll read parts of it and remind themselves of our values and then sign their names.”

(Zind) Sammat says she hopes that in the spirit of September 11 the display will serve as a reminder of what Americans have in common. The Craftsbury Public Library is also participating in the September Project by holding a poetry reading Saturday.

One Vermont commemoration has quietly taken place each year since the September 11 attacks. The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site has opened free of charge for a day of remembrance. There are no events or speeches, just the natural beauty of what once was a Revolutionary War battlefield. John Dumville is with the Division for Historic Preservation.

(Dumville) “It’s an incredibly scenic spot. You can stand on the ridge and look out across the Green Mountains and actually picture what happened there in 1777 and relate it to what’s going on in the world today.”

(Zind) The Hubbardton Battlefield State Historic Site will be open Saturday from 9:30 in the morning until 8:30 at night.

For Vermont Public Radio, I’m Steve Zind.

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