Presentation will be special

Up until 13 years ago, the date of Sept. 11 probably carried little significance to most people.

Since that morning in 2001 when wide-scale terror attacks came to the United States, the date has represented a time to remember those who lost their lives in the World Trade Center, in the Pentagon and in a field not too far east of here in Shanksville, Pa. It’s also a chance to honor the bravery our first responders show every day and remember that during a disaster they are willing to selflessly head into danger while most of us are going the other way.

Residents of the Tri-State Area will have a chance to take part in a special remembrance of that day on Sept. 11 of this year as part of the Herald-Star, Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Speaker Series.

The series, which has brought quality, world-class speakers to our community since November 2012, will continue with a special presentation on that day in the Steubenville High School auditorium.

In addition to a speaker, the event will feature a remembrance of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and a salute to area military personnel, active and retired, and first responders.

The name of the next speaker will be revealed Monday during a 5 p.m. press conference scheduled to be held outside the North Street Fire Station in Steubenville. And, while I can’t give you the name quite yet, know that the speaker had a direct connection to the highest level of our government on Sept. 11, 2001, and played a key role in our nation’s response in the aftermath of the attacks.

Our next presentation will be a fitting addition to the series, which has featured former Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill, who served on Jacqueline Kennedy’s protective detail, and his co-author, Lisa McCubbin; master of disguise Tony Mendez, whose rescue of American hostages from Iran in 1980 was dramatized in the film “Argo,” and his wife, Jonna; and Richard Phillips, whose experience of being kidnapped by Somali pirates was dramatized in the film “Captain Phillips.”

A goal of the series has been to keep the cost of a ticket to each presentation affordable.

We’re confident we have been able to do that – a reserved seat to the event will cost $20. There’s also the option of spending $150 for a special VIP package that includes a ticket to the presentation as well as access to a private reception and the chance to meet the speaker. Monday’s press conference will include details about additional ticket offers.

Members of the committee that has been working to ensure the series continues to provide top-quality speakers deserve to be thanked, as do the major sponsors who make the program possible. That list include the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and chamber of commerce as well as Eastern Gateway Community College, the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Trinity Health System, the Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley and WTRF-TV. Plus, on Monday, we’ll be announcing the names of additional sponsors who will help to ensure the evening will be one to remember.

You’re invited to join us at the press conference Monday. You’ll also have the opportunity to learn more about our next speaker in the coming weeks.

Our Sept. 11 presentation will be special – I hope residents from across our region will make plans to join us.

(Gallabrese, a resident of Steubenville, is executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times.)