9/11 Observance in Works; Fund-Raiser Is Today Remembrance Coincides with Sept. 10 Primary

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Byline: David DeCamp, Times-Union staff writer

Jacksonville's commemoration of last year's Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will be Sept. 10, featuring music, speakers from the military, religious and government leadership, and a candle-lighting ceremony at Metropolitan Park.

Organizers are kicking off a fund-raising drive this morning, through the United Way of Northeast Florida, at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast. The commemoration: "9-11 Commemoration: A Coming Together of Greater Jacksonville," is being sponsored by City Hall, the Interfaith Council of Greater Jacksonville and the National Conference for Community and Justice.

Two lights, signifying the destroyed World Trade Center towers, will shine into the sky, said Wendy Raymond Hacker, spokeswoman for City Hall's special events division. The Helicopter HSL Wing at Mayport Naval Station also will perform the Missing Man Formation flyover, where one unit is absent.

"To me, this is a coming together just to mark the day of sorrow in the hope that will bring peace and comfort to all of us who were wounded in spirt," event chairman Jay Stein said yesterday.

The free event will be a day short of the one-year anniversary because it falls on a Wednesday. Organizers, counting on religious organizations for support, did not want to conflict with religious services that usually take place Wednesdays, Hacker said.

That leaves the hallmark event on primary election day, when Duval County's new voting system will get its first countywide test after infamous breakdowns in fall 2000. But the commemoration couldn't be pushed back too far from Sept. 11, or else it would lose some of its attraction, said Chris Verlander, a leading organizer. …