Cities of Stow, Tallmadge reflect on 9/11 during memorial event


The historic Tallmadge Circle Chruch during the 9/11 candle light vigil at the Tallmadge Circle Sunday, September 11, 2016.

Jesse Orantek

The cities of Tallmadge and Stow hosted memorial events to recognize the lives of fallen heroes during 9/11.

Stow’s ceremony, which took place outside of the Stow City Center in the 9/11 Memorial Garden, organized various events and people to speak on behalf of those who lost their lives that day.

“Anywhere can be ground zero,” said Jill Smith, pastor of the Faith Fellowship Baptist Church. “Ground zero brings us to places where we see how little we are in control.”

Many other attendees shared in Smith’s thoughts concerning the attacks 15 years ago.

Diane LeBlanc, whose son was working in Manhattan at the time, said she felt a lack of control as she was unable to contact him in the earliest moments.

“I was petrified all day,” she said.

LeBlanc was finally able to get in contact with her son that day, but added that she was “very happy to be here to honor all of the people lost.”

Girl Scout Troop 90770 and James Barbur of the Stow Fire Department led the people in attendance at the ceremony in the Pledge of Allegiance as the American flag was raised in remembrance.

Other events held at the memorial ceremony included the laying of the wreath by Barbur and Stow Police Chief Jeff Film. The 9/11 Memorial Garden was dedicated in 2012, and includes a beam from the World Trade Center.

The Stow-Munroe Falls High School choir, led by Director Nicholas Campagna, sang two songs during the memorial: “Salvation Created,” a Russian piece, as well as a song called “I Dream a World,” which was composed in memory of those who lost their lives.

Campagna said how honored he and his choir were to be asked by the Stow City Hall to perform at such a memorable and sensitive occasion.

Carin LeSeure, whose son Cooper sang with the choir, said Sept. 11, 2001 is a day she will never forget.

“I got pregnant with Cooper just right before 9/11,” LeSeure said. “As he ages, I keep in mind the kids that are his exact age whose dads were lost.”

2,976 candles lined Tallmadge Circle starting at 8 a.m. Sunday, each recognizing one of the firefighters, police officers, military personnel and civilians who perished where the terrorist attacks occurred.

Tallmadge has run this event since 2003, and each year the candlelit vigil lasts for 24 hours. Each candle is colored differently, as red represents firefighters, blue for the police, green for the military and white for civilians.

Jesse Orantek is a downtown city reporter, contact him at [email protected]. Jimmy Miller and Angelo Angel contributed reporting to this story.