Let church bells, sirens ring on 9/11, Millinocket man says

Posted Sept. 08, 2011, at 10:13 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 09, 2011, at 10:17 a.m.
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MILLINOCKET, Maine — John Levesque was among a half-dozen volunteers attaching a ramp to a doorway at what was then St. Martin of Tours Roman Catholic Church when a church secretary came outside and said that an airplane had slammed into a World Trade Center tower.

Several minutes later, she came out again to say that another jet had hit a tower.

That was, of course, on Sept. 11, 2001, and like almost everybody, Levesque’s memory of it is as clear now as was the weather on that awful day.

“There was mixed feelings about what happened until the second one hit. Then we all kind of realized it was terrorists,” the 81-year-old retired millworker said Thursday. “As time went on I got to thinking about it. I thought it would be nice if we acknowledged that this thing happened, that people lost their lives, and if we could please bless all the people in the building and of all religions and races.”

That’s why Levesque has been approaching all churches and fire departments in the Katahdin region to get them to ring their bells or sound their sirens at 9:02 a.m. Sunday, Sept. 11, as a remembrance of all those killed or injured in the attacks and devastated by the loss of a loved one on that day. Levesque hopes, too, that churches outside the region will follow suit.

“I think it would be a good idea,” he said. “Let’s take a moment and let people know that we haven’t forgotten them, them or the ones left behind from that tragic attack. I thought it was the least I could do.”

Millinocket’s Christ Divine Mercy, First Congregational and Faith Baptist churches and the Millinocket and East Millinocket fire departments have agreed to ring bells or sound sirens at the appropriate time, he said. He also has begun approaching churches in East Millinocket, he said.

“I am in hopes that this will continue to get bigger and bigger,” he said. “I hope that all of Maine will join in this and let them know that we remember. We are strong people in the U.S. We rebuild and we come back better.”

Anyone interested in helping Levesque widen the scope of his project may call him at 723-9321.