The public is invited to help welcome the Tunnel to Towers Foundation 9/11 Never Forget Mobile exhibit when it comes to town Thursday and then visit the exhibit over the weekend.
The Step, STAND, Salute, Character Still Counts event will be presented Oct. 18-20 in the First Trust and Savings Bank parking lot.
“The exhibit serves as a tribute to those lost on September 11, 2001, including the 343 members of the FDNY who made the ultimate sacrifice saving and protecting others in the line of duty.,” said Watseka Park District Executive Director Sherry Johnson, who has helped organize the event.
Once the exhibit arrives in town on Thursday, it will be set up and readied for people to view it over the weekend.
On Friday more than 700 students from around the Iroquois County area will visit the exhibit and learn about it. The exhibit will be open from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. that day for the students and teachers.
The exhibit will be open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 19. That day will include a welcoming ceremony that will feature several speakers.
“For safety purposes, the committee asks that you observe the road barricades and remember that Third Street at Rt. 24 going south will be closed to through traffic beginning Saturday at 6:30 a.m.,” Johnson said. “Cherry Street from Second to Fourth streets will also be closed during that time. We apologize for any inconvenience that this may cause.
“Businesses will still be open during that time. The alleyway behind the post office will be open with drivers allowed to pass over the railroad crossing and make an immediate left to exit to Fourth Street along the drive just north of the Watseka Park District. As with any event, safety is the major concern. Please be aware of the barricades and feel free to consult with volunteers should you have questions.”
A number of vendors will also be stationed at the Watseka Park District parking lot on Saturday. Also that day will be the annual children’s costume and pet parade, which will be at the park district building. Registration will be at 4 p.m. and judging will begin at 4:45 p.m. The annual trunk or treat event conducted by the Watseka Area Chamber of Commerce will be immediately after the children’s costume and pet parade. Those taking part in the trunk or treat event will line up along Cherry Street for children to visit them.
On Oct. 20 the Watseka Masonic Lodge will host a freewill donation breakfast from 7-10 a.m. at the Watseka Park District building. An all faith service will be at 10 a.m. The theme for that service is “God and Our Country”. The Tunnel to Towers exhibit will be open from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The First Responder Celebration hosted annually by the Iroquois County Republican Women’s Club is planned for that day and will honor all the area first responders.
“There will be emergency vehicles lined up to remember fallen emergency personnel and to honor those still serving. This ceremony will feature a bagpiper, speakers, A Natural High and the End of Watch reading,” Johnson said.
“Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join us for all or part of this event. We encourage people to show their patriotism and visit the exhibit to show their support of people that sacrificed of themselves to help the United States stay strong through some of the toughest times ever faced on American soil. Step, STAND, Salute because Character Still Counts in Watseka and Iroquois County.”