PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

September 4, 2013

PA library remembers 9-11 with exhibit

Sherry Koonce
The Associated Press

— Never forget.

That’s the message Port Arthur’s Public Library wants to convey through its most recent gallery exhibit.

“Honoring/Rememberance of 9-11,” opened this week in the Library Art Gallery, and will continue through Sept. 15.

The somber exhibit relives the day’s harrowing events on the library’s eight television screens that were converted into art exhibits.

From terrorist-hijacked planes crashing into the World Trade Center, to the unveiling of the Wall of Rembrance 10 years later, the revolving photo exhibit depicts the horror of 9-11 attacks on U.S. soil, and the nation’s unwavering resolve to recover from the four coordinated terror acts that ultimately claimed 2,977 lives.

“We never want to forget the lives we lost, the terror we went through,” Debbie Lawrence, library administrative assistant, said.

This year marks the second year the library has sponsored the 9-11 exhibit. Just like last year, this year’s photo exhibit is expected to affect those who stop by to remember the day.

“it is powerful,” Josh Midgette, library administrative clerk, said.

People will just come and stand silently while they move from one screen to the other, Midgette said.

Lawrence said she was hesitant to look at the exhibit because of the feelings the photos would evoke.

“I can still remember what I was doing as if it were yesterday,” she said.

At the time, Lawrence was secretary to former Port Arthur City Manager Steve Fitzgibbons, and had only been at work a short while before someone came in and announced a plane had hit the World Trade Center.

“When it happened we were just devastated,” she said. “City Hall came to a standstill. It was like, ‘How can this happen?’ It was like when Kennedy was shot when I was in grammar school,” Lawrence said.

The exhibit is held this year in conjunction with an observance planned by the city of Port Arthur.

Though still in the planning stages, Debra Campbell, event organizer with the city’s fire department, said this year’s commemorative event would be at the park at City Hall.

The public is invited to the event which will likely feature a couple of narratives, and possibly a bell ceremony. Though the service will be in the morning, an exact time has not yet been established.

The Port Arthur News will publish more details as they become available.

“We relive the 9-11 tragedy because of all the innocent lives lost. This we must never forget,” Lawrence said.

E-mail: skoonce@panews.com

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