Sept. 11 memorial services on tap in Delaware, with changes

This post has been updated to add information on the 9/11 Memorial Service that will be held at the Dover Air Mobility Command Museum on Friday

DOVER — Events big and small, virtual and in person, will mark the upcoming Sept. 11, 2001, anniversary.

For the 15th straight year, the Blood Bank of Delmarva and Dover International Speedway will hold the 9/11 Memorial Blood Drive on Thursday and Friday. The hope is to register 240 people to donate over the two days, which could benefit up to 720 hospital patients.

“It is hard to think of better ways to observe Sept. 11 than by giving blood and, therefore, giving back to your country, your state and your town,” BBD spokesman Tony Prado said.

“Giving blood at this blood drive and any other blood drive ensures that you have done your part to stock all 19 hospitals in the Delmarva Peninsula.”

Each person arriving to donate blood will have an opportunity to drive a lap around the Monster Mile concrete track and be part of the “I Drove the Monster Mile” photo gallery.

The event runs from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at Dover International Speedway’s NASCAR Cup Series Garage at 1131 N. DuPont Highway. Interested donors can sign up by calling (888) 8-BLOOD-8 or visiting donate.bbd.org.

The event will be accessible via Plaza Drive off the speedway’s Leipsic Road entrance. Staff will direct vehicles that enter the area.

Appointments should only be scheduled if participants are “feeling healthy and well and are fever-free,” according to a news release. Temperature checks will be conducted prior to entering the speedway.

Dover International Speedway hosted the first Cup Series race weekend following the 9/11 attacks, which concluded with race winner Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrating with an American flag before more than 130,000 fans.

“Sept. 11 will always be remembered by those who lived through that tragic day in 2001,” DIS spokesman Michael Lewis said.

“We are honored to continue our tradition of giving back and service to the community by partnering with the Blood Bank of Delmarva for this event.”

According to the Blood Bank of Delmarva, the drive comes at a crucial time, “with new and unprecedented challenges, such as college and high school blood drives on indefinite hiatus. Blood donations are typically lower during the summer, and the return to school usually helps make up the difference and stabilize the blood supply.” College and school drives have brought in 8,000 blood donations in past years.

Other 9/11 events planned

Dover Air Force Base Fire Emergency Services, in partnership with local first responders, will host a memorial event on Friday at 10 a.m. indoors at the Air Base Fire Department to remember the fallen heroes of 9/11.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the event is limited to invitation only.

“In response to an attack designed to break our nation, we as Americans, as first responders, as airmen, found new resolve to defend our country, our people and our home,” said Col. Matthew Jones, 436th Airlift Wing commander. “Although painful to relive, it’s memorials like these that remind us and the next generation of our promise to answer our nation’s call and to never forget.”

Guest speaker Jack Dunn, retired Air Force firefighter, also served as a New Jersey firefighter, retiring as a battalion chief. On Sept. 12, 2001, Mr. Dunn worked rescue and recovery operations in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

For more information, call 302-677-3372, or visit the Dover AFB Facebook page at www.facebook.com/DoverAirForceBase.

Citizens’ Hose Co. No. 1 of Smyrna will hold a virtual memorial ceremony streamed live from its Facebook page Friday.

Noting an earlier decision to cancel the event, organizers explained, “(W)e have worked diligently since then to ensure that the event could be held and that we can honor those men and women who sacrificed everything for us.”

The event is sponsored by the Smyrna/Clayton Past Chiefs and Past Presidents Association and the Smyrna/Clayton Ministerium.

Husband and wife Chuck and Arlene Mankin of Smyrna are hoping members of the public will join them for a 6 p.m. tribute at the Firefighters Memorial on The Green in Dover on Friday. Ms. Mankin, whose husband is a retired firefighter, said a dearth of 9/11 events this year prompted the planned gathering to commemorate lives lost during the terrorist attacks.

Ms. Mankin said six candles of different colors representing aspects of 9/11’s impact will be lit, along with the poem, “We Healed,” read.

“We are both of the mindset that 9/11 is about never forgetting, and it seems like this year, it’s not being remembered, and that’s difficult,” said Ms. Mankin, secretary for the Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary Post 8081. “Even if it was just my husband and I, we felt like we had to do something.”

The Mankins are seeking a bell to ring the traditional 5-5-5-5 fire code to acknowledge the lives lost.

Annual Millsboro ceremony

The American Legion Auxiliary Unit 28 will hold its annual 9/11 Candlelight Ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday at the post’s pavilion, 31768 Legion Road, just off Del. 24, near Millsboro.

The outdoor event is open to the community.

In addition to the American Legion Riders Chapter 28, the Post 28 Honor Guard and the Unit 28 Colorettes, the ceremony will include:

• An opening prayer by Margaret Hopkins, Unit 28 member.

• The Pledge of Allegiance by Unit 28 junior member Makenzie Mood.

• The national anthem by Greg Fuller Sr., director of Home of the Brave.

• A POW/MIA remembrance by Lee Glasco, past Post 28 commander, and June Jones, Unit 28 vice president.

• A speech by Dorothy McCormick, an American Legion oratorical winner.

• A presentation of the 9/11 Freedom Flag by Department President Debbie Gunther and Unit 28 junior members Riley and Skyler Schmidt.

• The Delaware State Police bagpipe unit, under the direction of Maj. Matthew Cox and final salute and taps by the Post 28 Honor Guard.

With the lighting of the candles, “God Bless America” will be sung by Judy Mangini of the local group Judy Sings the Blues.

The event is being held outdoors, and masks are encouraged, and social distancing is to be practiced.

“We’re going to do the best that we can,” said Beth McGinn, spokeswoman for the unit. “We didn’t want to cancel because it is very important that we don’t forget this.”

Staff writer Glenn Rolfe contributed
to this story.