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American tragedy at forefront of people’s minds

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Whistler residents and guests prayed, offered condolences, held hands and struggled to help each other understand the tragic events of Sept. 11 during special ceremonies last week. And they continue to do so again this week.

A special service was held at Millennium Place Sunday morning, where Rev. Bruce Cowburn spoke of healing.

Sunday evening, a candlelight service in Town Plaza drew several hundred people. At both services a book of condolence was available for signing, which will be forwarded to the U.S. Consulate.

Monday’s meeting of Whistler council began with a moment of silence. Mayor Hugh O’Reilly thanked all the groups that provided services and comfort to residents and visitors in the previous week. O’Reilly said there had been many requests from people in Whistler who want to do more for victims of the terrorist attacks, but suggested the best thing to do is to listen to the requests coming out of New York.

Counc. Nick Davies told council he had thought hard about what "little Whistler" could do for a big city like New York. He suggested a letter of condolence be sent from the municipality to the City of New York, with an invitation to New Yorkers to let Whistler know what the town can do for them once they’ve dealt with the immediate aftermath of the tragedy.

"It’s not for us to wonder about what we can do," Davies said. "Our duty is to step forward and help."

New York City has asked that people make donations to the Red Cross. Most major Canadian banks and financial institutions, including the North Shore Credit Union, Royal Bank and TD Bank in Whistler as well as Scotiabank in Pemberton, have all established accounts where donations can be made to the Canadian Red Cross’ USA Appeal.

This week Reid Gervais, a trainer and seminar leader in non-violent communication, organized a special session at Millennium Place on Thursday. It was an opportunity for people to share their grief, their fears and their anger, and to start the healing process.

This Sunday, Sept. 23, Durlacher Hof pension is partnering with Optionelle Clothing to host a fashion show, with proceeds from clothing sales going to the Canadian Red Cross. The fashion show starts at 11 a.m. at 7055 Nesters Road.

Organizers of all the relief efforts remind people that while New Yorkers appear to have the assistance then need right now, their needs will continue for some time.

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