Orland Park to Observe Tenth Anniversary of September 11th

Orland Park to Observe Tenth Anniversary of September 11th
Posted on 08/30/2011

The Village of Orland Park will observe the tenth anniversary of September 11 with a poignant ceremony on Sunday, September 11 at 10:00 a.m.

"We are bringing different facets of the community together as we gather to remember this day in American history," said Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

Orland Park's ceremony will be held at the village's Veterans Memorial in the Village Center at 14700 South Ravinia Avenue.

The ceremony will include performances by the Encore Concert Band with Carl Sandburg High School junior Cora Georgiou singing the national anthem.

Members of the Orland Park Police Department, Orland Fire Protection District, Orland-Palos Reber-Tesmond VFW Post #2604 and American Legion Orland Memorial Post #111 will present colors with the opening prayer being offered by Reverend Tim Harlow of Parkview Christian Church in Orland Park.

Guest speakers will include U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Ryan Keeney, former U.S. Navy Lieutenant Doctor Catherine McDoniel and former U.S. Army Battalion Plans Officer Adam Wojcik.

"Each of our guest speakers offers a unique perspective for where they were on September 11, 2001, being from three different branches of service," McLaughlin said. "These are three very special individuals, all with ties to Orland Park and we're thrilled that they're able to join us," the mayor added.

Keeney, whose parents are Orland Park residents, works at the Pentagon and directly supports the Secretary, Under Secretary, Chief of Staff, and Vice Chief of Staff of the Air Force with preparing speeches, congressional testimony, written correspondence, and strategic communications. He personally interacts with the highest officials in the Air Force, the Department of Defense, other federal agencies, and the defense industry to articulate Air Force policy and evaluate speaking and media engagements. Keeney's speech is entitled, "Scrambled: An Air Force fighter pilot's experience on 9/11."

In August, 2001, McDoniel reported onboard the USS PELEIU as the general medical officer. The ship deployed with approximately 1000 naval soldiers and approximately 1500 Marines for a routine six month tour to the western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf. After the events of September 11, the USS PELELIU Amphibious Ready Group became a central support during Operation Enduring Freedom, deploying the first Marines to shore and flying aircraft over the country of Afghanistan in the war on terrorism. McDoniel, who now lives in Orland Park, is a physician at Palos Community Hospital Immediate Care Center.

Orland Park native Adam Wojcik attended Brother Rice High School before being appointed to the United States Military Academy at West Point. In May of 2000, Wojcik graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering and was commissioned a field artillery officer. He served at a number of stateside duty locations including Fort Sill, Oklahoma, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and Fort Riley, Kansas. Wojcik led the 25th Field Artillery Detachment during a 13-month deployment to Kirkuk, Iraq in support of Operations Iraqi Freedom II from January, 2004 until February, 2005 and was awarded a Bronze Star for his actions. Wojcik was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq with Task Force Patriot from January, 2007 until April, 2008, serving as the plans officer. He and his wife, Jillian, a fourth grade teacher in Orland School District 135, live in Tinley Park with their son, Cooper. Wojcik now works as a project management consultant, is an elected member of the Kirby School District 140 Board of Education and is a lifetime member of the Orland-Palos Reber-Tesmond Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2604.

A moment of silence will be observed after the three speakers, followed by the Orland Fire Protection District bell ringing in remembrance of the fallen comrades from the New York Fire and Police Departments. Reverend Edward Upton, pastor of Orland Park's St. Francis of Assisi Parish, will offer the closing prayer.

A 9-11 memorial photo gallery and refreshments will be available inside of the Orland Park Civic Center after the ceremony.

9/11 Memorial Ceremony