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Worthington's fire department to be part of Sept. 11 memorial event

WORTHINGTON -- Like most people in the nation, Worthington Fire Chief Rick Von Holdt watched events unfold on Sept. 11, 2001 with a sense of disbelief. Because of his years of service as a firefighter and EMT, he also felt a sense of helplessness, knowing there was little he could do at the moment to offer assistance.

When the chance came to show support for firefighters, military personnel and the victims of 9/11, Von Holdt and other members of the Worthington Fire Department couldn't pass up the chance. On Sept. 11, they will leave around 6 a.m. in their aerial truck to drive to Marshall and be part of the 9/11 Memorial Park dedication.

"It's a pretty big deal, and it gives us a chance to show our support," Von Holdt said. "Not just for the firefighters lost that day, but for the military as well."

In Marshall, a day-long event is planned, which includes an honor parade, a formal dedication and readings of the names of officers, firefighters and EMS personnel who lost their lives on 9/11.

At the heart of the event is the Memorial Park itself. A beam from the World Trade Center, brought back from New York by Marshall resident Craig Schafer, will be the showcase piece in a park built to honor those who died during the attacks that changed America forever.

The beam is set in the center of the park and tilts slightly toward the east. A 1,000-watt light bulb inside will flash into the night sky. Red, blue and black stars are set in brick nearby to honor the police officers, firefighters and civilians who were killed.

The park is located between Marvin Schwan Memorial Drive and West Main Street in the block between West College Drive and North First Street.

The events of the day begin at 7:30 a.m. with a morning prayer. At 9:30 a.m., a welcome speech by Marshall's mayor leads into the ringing of fire truck bells at 9:46 a.m. -- a time set in acknowledgement of the plane hitting the North Tower at 8:46 a.m. Eastern time. Guest speakers, bag pipes, a drum line, recognition of the National Guard families and a ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by the ringing of fire truck bells to acknowledge the moment when the second plane struck the South Tower.

At 11:15 a.m., participants of the 9/11 Memorial motorcycle ride will form an honor parade to travel Main Street to Fifth Street in conjunction with the fire trucks, police and ambulances leading to the law enforcement center at 11:45 a.m. Those interested in being part of the motorcycle ride should meet at the Hitching Post, with registration starting at 11 a.m.

An ice cream social will take place between 1 and 4 p.m., and the day's events culminate in a candlelight vigil and lighting of the beam at 8 p.m.

Von Holdt said he and the other Worthington firefighters aren't comfortable keeping the aerial truck up in Marshall all day, but will participate in the ringing of fire truck bells and the parade.

"There will probably be a lot of small towns represented," Von Holdt speculated. "And firefighters like to get together and bond. An event of this nature is very important."

For more information and a complete schedule of events, go to