TALLMADGE — On Tuesday, the 17th anniversary of September 11, 2001, the city’s Circle will again glow in remembrance of the lives lost that day.
With 2,976 candles to light representing the victims of the terrorist attacks in 2001, Fire Chief Mike Passarelli says assistance is needed to set up the candles beginning at 8 a.m. The Rev. Mike Matusz, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Church, is scheduled to offer an invocation, then the candles will be lit.
The candles which will line the sidewalks of Tallmadge Circle Park and burn for 24 hours, will include: 343 red candles for fire department personnel; 60 blue candles for police personnel; 55 green candles for military personnel; and 2,518 white candles for civilians.
The candle ceremony debuted in 2003 and was the brainchild of now Tallmadge Fire Chief Michael Passarelli, firefighter Jeff Quick and Tom Kilway, a part-time firefighter.
"Every one of those candles represents a life," the fire chief says, "and when you see the scene, it’s overwhelming. You go out of there with a lump in your throat and a tear in your eye."
Passarelli says he encourages attendees to bring along their own lighters since they’re bound to be in short supply that morning.
"There are people who come to the Circle all night long in order to relight candles that have blown out," Passarelli says. "It’s heartwarming the way they keep the vigil for the victims."
Donations from the community, local businesses and unions provide funds to purchase the specially-made candles from A.I. Root Candle Co. of Medina. Each candles lasts approximately five years.
Passarelli says he also will need volunteers to help remove the candles on the morning of Sept. 12.
Reporter Ellin Walsh can be reached at 330-541-9419, firstname.lastname@example.org or @EllinWalsh_RPC.