Ceremony promotes closure to tragedies

Teenagers organize vigil to help heal wounds of last Tuesday's tragic attack

By JOSH NICHOLS

Daily Press writer

The same night President Bush told the nation "justice will be done" and "our grief has turned to anger and anger to resolution," a group of Craig teenagers hosted a memorial urging Americans to stick together and move on.

Thursday night, the teen-based group PReVENT held a candlelight remembrance honoring those who died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center and Pentagon.

As the sun began to set, kindergartners, senior citizens and people of every age in between walked to the front of the Moffat County Courthouse.

One by one, each was handed a candle as they gathered around the flag.

Sean Villard, a member of PReVENT, spoke to the crowd of more than 100 people.

PReVENT, Preventing Relationship Violence Through Education and Nurturing Teens, he said, is about non-violence.

"What happened last Tuesday deserves a remembrance and closing so we can move on," he said. "We gather here tonight to remember the events that happened last Tuesday. We cannot focus on the past and dwell on what has occurred."

He told the crowd that United States citizens have two options: Stay in fear of what happened and what might happen or unite as a nation.

"Buildings can be rebuilt and wounds will heal," he said. "We need to take this opportunity to unite. We need to send a message that they cannot break our spirit or pride."

At the conclusion of Villard's speech, several young adults stepped to the microphone and read poems, then "God Bless the U.S.A." was played, at which point several audience members sang along during the chorus.

Candles were lit during a moment of silence, and members of the crowd bowed their heads in prayer.

People stood with their arms around one another and some cried.

Two people in the crowd were Jan Reece and her son, Devyn.

Devyn collected $400 for the Red Cross by selling ribbons and has already sent it to New York.

The two also invented a phrase, "Get a CLUE," with CLUE standing for Compassion, Love, Unity and Everyone.

Watching the firefighters and medical personnel get hurt the day of the disaster took on a special significance for the Reece family, because Jan's husband is a firefighter in Craig.

In the past, Jan said she and her son have cried when they saw disasters involving firefighters on television, and last Tuesday was no exception.

"My dad wanted to go to New York and help, but I asked him not to go," Devyn said.

Karen Aragon, director of PReVENT, said she did not deserve any credit for the smoothly-run Thursday night gathering.

"They did it all," she said. "These kids are amazing."

She said the group met Sunday night and she asked them what they thought about the situation. Then, the discussion about having a remembrance began.

"They took it from there," she said.

Nichole Morley, a member of PReVENT, said she knew the president was speaking to the nation at about the same time as her group's ceremony.

"I just hope America doesn't take it's frustrations out on innocent people," she said.

Kellie Dodds, who accompanied Morley to the event, said events like the one put on by PReVENT are important.

"It brings us together and gives us unity," she said.

PReVENT is sponsored by Advocates-Crisis Support Services. The group creates programs to stop violence and those programs are used to educate other teen-agers.

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