Only nine people attended the Service of Hope and Remembrance of 9/11 at the Payson United Methodist Church this week. So, it became a quiet, intimate memorial for all those who died in the attacks of 2001 and for loved ones still grieving their loss.
The small group somberly shared their memories of that day and the changes it brought into their lives. Pastor Javier Olivares led the service and pianist Cindy Machen provided beautiful music in tribute.
Janine and William Cluck said they wanted to do something to commemorate the terrible event.
The couple has lived in Payson 27 years and had just returned from an anniversary trip the day before the attacks.
“We were in Canada and if we had waited any longer to come home, we would have been stranded there because they stopped air travel for so long,” Janine said.
Camille Levy, executive director for Time Out Inc. of Payson, said, “It deserves recognition. It’s important to say a prayer.”
Levy was working in California at the time of the attacks. “We saw people streaming out of high rise buildings all around us and later learned they were being evacuated. None of us knew what might be coming next.”
She said her supervisor’s son was a pilot with American and scheduled to fly Flight 11. The supervisor was in China and was frantically trying to find out what had happened. As it turned out, at the last minute the airline switched pilots for that doomed flight. Five terrorists hijacked the flight as part of the September 11 attacks.
They deliberately crashed the Boston-to-Los Angeles flight into the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all 87 people aboard plus the hijackers, and an unconfirmed number in the building’s impact zone.
Fifteen minutes into the flight, the hijackers injured at least three people, killed one, broke through the cockpit door and overpowered the captain and first officer.
Carla Benepal and Michael Marrow, seasonal residents, said, “We’re still looking for answers. The government should step up,” said Marrow. “We need to remember so those people did not die in vain.”
While only a handful attended the service, all over Payson residents put out flags in remembrance.