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Juniata Collaborates with Huntingdon on Sept. 11 Ceremony

(Posted September 3, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Juniata College and the borough of Huntingdon have organized a commemorative ceremony honoring the one-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Shanksville, Pa. The ceremony will begin at 6:45 p.m. at the Huntingdon County Courthouse and end with a "procession of light" to a 9 p.m. candlelight vigil on the Juniata campus.

"The borough events and the procession to the college are intended to flow into one another as a single event," says David Witkovsky, chaplain at Juniata College. "All community members are welcome to participate in the entire event and procession."
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Juniata's schedule of Sept. 11-related events starts with a Bookend Seminar lecture at 4:30 p.m. in 202 Good Hall by Donald Braxton, associate professor of religion. His talk, "What Is the Link Between Religion and Violence? An Inquiry One Year Later," focuses on the origins of the impulse to violence and how it is channeled socially into destructive behavior, and how religion capitalizes and/or combats this dynamic.

A program organized by Huntingdon borough will start at 6:45 p.m. with an opening prayer and two speakers: Commander David Radi, U.S. Navy, a Huntingdon native who was serving in the Pentagon on Sept. 11, will talk about his experiences, including the loss of one of his employees in the attack. Rev. Tim Weitkamp, pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Huntingdon, will talk about his experiences at Ground Zero.

The Huntingdon Area High School band will play several selections. The event at the courthouse will end with a Scripture reading and a benediction by several area pastors.

At 8 p.m., Juniata chaplain Witkovsky will start the "procession of light" by presenting a peace lily to community leaders at the end of the borough's remembrance ceremony at the courthouse. Rev. Tom Warne, pastor of the St. John's Episcopal Church in Huntingdon, will speak before the procession starts.

"Candles will be passed out to all participants after we present the lily and we will begin to walk from the courthouse to the college," Witkovsky says.

During the procession, community leaders and participants will stop at various locations to present peace lilies to local firehouses, the Huntingdon Police Department, ambulance services and other community organizations.

The procession ends at the lawn in front of Oller Hall on the Juniata campus at 9 p.m., where procession participants and Juniata students will gather for a candlelight vigil. Juniata chaplain Witkovsky and religion professor Donald Braxton will deliver a meditation on the events of Sept. 11. In addition, there will be songs performed by members of the Juniata choirs and prayers for peace offered by the college's international students.

"The closing meditation will ask all of us to be bearers of the light in these troubled times," says Witkovsky.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.