HANCOCK COUNTY — Even while he watches the people around him slip back into what he sees as old patterns, Dave Galbraith does not. While others seem to have forgotten about the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001, Mt. Comfort United Methodist Church’s new pastor said he never will.
“It’s something that I will never forget,” Galbraith said. “I’m afraid that the people of the United States have already forgotten.”
In order to remind people that the U.S. is still vulnerable to attack, Galbraith said the church will hold a special service to honor those who lost their lives and served on Sept. 11.
He’s invited community officials, first responders and a number of other religious leaders to participate in an hour-long commemoration at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the church.
Galbraith has held some sort of remembrance at each of his churches since 2001.
“Churches were filled on that Tuesday (in 2001) and filled on Sundays for the next (few) months,” he said. “Now we are back to where we were Sept. 10, 2001. People think nothing can happen to us.”
There may be something to what Galbraith is saying. There are few other events being held in Hancock County to remember Sept. 11. While many people recognized the 10th anniversary last year, the 11-year mark has not generated the same outpouring of interest.
None of the county’s veterans organizations, like American Legion or VFW posts, have events planned, Galbraith said.
Tim Hunt, commander of the VFW post in Fortville, said his group will have no remembrance this year, as they usually defer to state and national organizations for that.
“We’ve never really done anything like that in our post,” Hunt said. “This is just a small community thing, so anything like that usually happens in Indianapolis.
“I never really thought too much about it.”
For Galbraith, that’s part of the problem and an even greater reason to hold public events like the one he has planned for Tuesday.
“It’s disturbing to me,” Galbraith said of the lack of community events planned for the anniversary. “I think it’s a good thing for us to remember – not to dwell, but to remember.”
Most county schools have also chosen not to mark the occasion. Greenfield-Central, Southern Hancock and Eastern Hancock school systems do not have any 9/11 remembrance events planned Tuesday.
Weston Elementary Principal Steve Burt said the schools usually do not, instead preferring to defer to parents.
“Parents have been appreciative that we didn’t say anything to (the students),” Burt said. “It was a tough day for kids and parents.”
The Mt. Vernon school system will have no 9/11 activities, but Mt. Comfort Elementary school principal Heather Whitaker will make a brief announcement to the school and hold a moment of silence. Teachers are being encouraged to incorporate material on Sept. 11 in their history lessons for young students.
Aside from Galbraith and Mt. Comfort UMC, the only community activity planned is a patriotic tribute Tuesday night at the Fortville’s arts center, Ten West.
It’s the second year the venue has held a tribute concert. This year the free event, beginning at 7 p.m., will feature the Mt. Vernon Middle School Choir, the Mt. Vernon High School Center Stage Choir and the Ten West Men’s Chorus, and will feature Bay Street Brassworks, a brass quintet.
Mt. Comfort UMC’s remembrance will have a more subdued tenor, said Galbraith.
Students, public officials and church leaders will take turns reading remembrances and prayers throughout the event and the Greenfield Community Choir will perform.
“This is not a normal worship service; it’s going to be a little bit somber,” Galbraith said. “This is not to celebrate those who lived. This is to remember those who died and those who gave their time and energy to save others.”