9/11 remembrances around York County

Sean Philip Cotter

Eleven more names now adorn the Prospect Hill Cemetery shrine that honors local emergency personnel killed in action and decorated military members.

Nine servicemen, a former Hanover firefighter and a former York City police officer will be honored at the annual Court of Valor Sept. 11 ceremony at 1 p.m Sunday at the Safekeeper's Shrine in the cemetery in York City.

The nine servicemen range from a pair of Medal of Honor winners from the Civil War to veterans of Vietnam and the current deployments to the Middle East, said Jack Sommer, the president of the cemetery.

Earl Shoemaker, a 40-year veteran volunteer of Hanover's Eagle Fire Co. No. 2, died in March when he suffered a heart attack while responding to a call for a house fire. Several firefighters will perform a flag-folding ceremony to honor Shoemaker, who was 68.

Former York City police officer Ron Heist also died in March, shot to death while on duty for Schaad Detective Agency working a Pennsylvania Turnpike security detail at the Fort Littleton toll plaza, west of Harrisburg. He was murdered by retired Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Clarence Briggs, who robbed an armored car collecting fare money, police have said. Briggs also killed a turnpike worker before being shot and killed by responding state troopers.

Heist, who was 71, worked for the York City Police Department for 30 years before retiring in 1995. Heist didn't die in the line of duty as an emergency responder, so his name won't go on the arch of the shrine, Sommer said, but the cemetery wanted to do something to remember him.

Friends remember Ron Heist, retired cop, county park ranger, dog lover

"We felt we had to do something to honor his passing," he said. So his name will be on a big paving stone in the patio around the arch, Sommer said, and they'll also have a flag-folding ceremony honoring him.

This year's addition of 10 new names on the archway brings the total to 364, Sommer said.

More observances: In West Manheim Township, 3,000 flags are on display in West Manheim Elementary School's 15 Year 9/11 Healing Field, and each flag is supposed to represent a person killed during the Sept. 11 terror attacks. All the flags will be displayed from Friday through Sept. 17. The flagpoles are 8 feet tall, and the flags are 3 feet by 5 feet.

Locals help assemble flags for 9/11 Healing Field

At 8:45 a.m. Sunday, the time the first plane struck the World Trade Center, all the names of the victims will be read, and then 3,000 balloons will be released into the sky.

Also on Sunday, more than 100 injured veterans will pedal into York County, stopping overnight in York as the United Health Care Ride 2 Recovery makes its four-day, 320-mile trek from Washington, D.C., to New York City in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11 and the many more who've made sacrifices since.

The riders — on hand cycles, recumbents, tandems and traditional upright bicycles — will stop over Sunday night at the Quality Inn in Springettsbury Township and will be hosted for a dinner by the Red Lion American Legion Post 543 before departing at 7:45 the next morning for the next leg of their trip, which will take them to Philadelphia.

— Sean Cotter covers York City for The York Dispatch. Contact him atscotter@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at@SPCotterYD.

Now adults, children of 9/11 draw inspiration from tragedy