News From Terre Haute, Indiana

September 9, 2011

9/11 Memorial Event to honor those killed in attacks

Sue Loughlin
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — Late last year, Terri (T.J.) Coonce had a vision for a 9/11 memorial event.

Inspired by an uncle and cousin who had served in Afghanistan, she wanted to honor not only those killed in the terrorist attacks, but also all American service members who have since lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, that dream will be realized with the Wabash Valley 9/11 Memorial Event at Fairbanks Park. As part of the overall remembrance event, 9,200 tea candles will be lit to honor 9/11 victims and fallen members of the military, she said.

“This is about the people who are gone,” Coonce said. “We’re not forgetting.”

More recently, the city, county and several other groups have helped plan for the event, which includes a blood drive at 6 p.m. in conjunction with the Indiana Blood Center. A committee has been meeting for several weeks.

The program begins at 7 p.m. at the amphitheater and will include formal military and first-responder presentations, candle lighting, a balloon launch, speakers, music provided by an interdenominational choir and the Terre Haute Fire Department Pipe and Drum Corps. The program is expected to last about an hour.

Speakers are Mayor Duke Bennett, Vigo County Commissioner Judy Anderson, Fire Chief Jeff Fisher, Police Chief John Plasse, Dr. C. David Hay, Col. Chris Colbert and Congressman Larry Bucshon.

Patrick Fazio will serve as the master of ceremonies.

In the event of rain, the event will be conducted in the former Terre Haute Family “Y” building in the gym.

Those attending will be able to sign a banner showing support for the families of the World Trade Center 9/11 victims. The banner will be sent to a liaison in New York who works with those families.

To encourage people to sign the banner and donate blood, Coonce will give out glow-in-the-dark wristbands that say, “Never Forget,” while supplies last. She has 1,700.

As part of the memorial event, the public will be able to participate in lighting the tea candles, she said. She encourages those who are able to bring taper candles to help light the tea candles.

The 9/11 memorial event is a way “to show support for our country … and to remember that tragic day that changed all of our lives,” she said.

Sue Loughlin can be reached at (812) 231-4235 or

Events planned to commemorate 9/11

Some people will join hands, while others will light candles.

One remembrance service to commemorate 9/11 will consist of sacred readings, reflections and song.

Many events are planned this weekend to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The following is a listing of several remembrance events open to the public:


• Terre Haute Ministries has organized a communitywide “Day of Service,” and those wanting to volunteer should gather at 8 a.m. by the City Hall steps. Volunteers will build three residential wheelchair ramps and also do cleanup and lawn care projects for some individuals in need and around the city, said the Rev. Honnalora Hubbard, director of Terre Haute Ministries.

People also can donate items for 9/11 care packages, which will be assembled by Terre Haute Ministries volunteers and shipped to U.S. service men and women in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Donated items can be dropped off from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the Salvation Army, 234 S. Eighth St. “We are in desperate need of more donations,” Hubbard said Thursday.

The most requested items needed include single-serving, nonperishable snacks; pre-sweetened drink mixes; toothbrushes; liquid body wash; olive green undershirts; black bootcut socks; AA and AAA batteries; and letters of support.

Gift cards and cash donations also are welcome, and Hubbard would use those to buy items for care packages. Hubbard can be reached at (812) 234-7100, ext. 215.

The local Day of Service is part of a national effort to make the 10th-anniversary weekend the largest outpouring of charitable service in U.S. history.


• The public is invited to a 30-minute “Remembrance Opportunity” at the Terre Haute South Vigo High School track. The event has been organized by teacher Jim Mann, students and staff.

Gates will open at 8 a.m., and patriotic music begins at 8:30 a.m.

One minute of silence will take place at 8:46 a.m., which is the time of the first plane attack on the World Trade Center. Also at that time, those attending will join hands as they stand around the track.

Patriotic music concludes at 9 a.m. and the gates close at 9:30 a.m. “It’s a time to reflect,” Mann said.

• At 4 p.m., the Indiana State University School of Music will host a “Reflection and Hope” concert in Tilson Auditorium.

It will include the ISU Concert Choir, the University Symphony Orchestra and the University Wind Orchestra. It also will have a simultaneous slide show of 9/11-related images.

• 7 p.m. The Wabash Valley 9/11 Memorial Event will take place at Fairbanks Park. A blood drive is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the program at 7 p.m. The city, county and other groups have worked collaboratively with T.J. (Terri) Coonce. (see separate story for details)

• At 9 p.m., a candlelight vigil will take place at ISU’s Dede Plaza by the fountain. The event will last about one-half hour.


• 4 p.m. St. Mary-of-the-Woods College will conduct a remembrance service of sacred readings, reflections and song on the front lawn of the Rooney Library, The public is invited. In the event of rain, the event will occur at Sacred Heart Chapel in Le Fer Hall.

Throughout September

• ISU’s Cunningham Memorial Library is displaying “September Souls”, a quilt designed and created in 2002 by Rosemary England, the late wife of emeritus professor of English Gene England. It memorializes those who died as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center. The quilt is displayed in the library’s Events Area and can be seen through a glass wall. A short video of Gene England talking about the quilt and his wife will be available outside the walls at all times. The quilt will remain on display throughout September.

To fully appreciate the design, the quilt needs to be viewed on both sides. The Events Area will be open from noon to 2 p.m. Sunday so people can see both sides of the quilt.