A Charleston family business is planning a Sept. 11 tribute to be held in New York City's Madison Square Garden. David Dodd, owner of Event Productions, has spent the past several months producing the remembrance ceremony, titled "Tribute to Grace and Hope." The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday. Dodd said 11,000 tickets have been sold and the event is expected to draw about 19,000 people. Although he owns Event Productions, he said planning the event has been a family affair. His two daughters, Jessica, 19, and Paige, 11, have taken an active role. "We have basically been doing everything that makes the show happen," said Jessica Dodd, a sophomore advertising major at Marshall University.
The Dodd family has planned all of the ceremony's inner workings, from sounds and lights to designs and layouts. Jessica Dodd said the show will feature World Trade Center survivors, contemporary Christian musicians, New York City firefighters and NBA basketball players. Scheduled to perform are Fred Hammond, Steven Curtis Chapman, Toby Mac, Third Day and Marcos Witt, Jessica Dodd said. New York firefighter Danny Rodriguez is scheduled to perform "God Bless America." Several government figures are to participate, she said, including former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and New York Gov. George E. Pataki.
Jessica said the purpose of the Christian-themed event is to provide a night of inspiration and hope. "They are looking to promote growth from the attacks," she said.
Event Productions was contracted by Jammin 2002, an organization that acts as an evangelistic outreach, she said. Steve Jamison, Jammin co-founder, has worked with the family to create the ceremony. Jamison will also speak with the audience about spiritual growth in the aftermath of tragedy. David Dodd said he is eager to see the tribute take form. He said having his daughters in New York for the first anniversary of the terrorist attacks will be emotional, but he is not worried about their safety. "I've always been a person that feels whatever is going to happen, will happen," he said. Jessica Dodd left for New York on Thursday and will return to Huntington after the event. She said she has not visited New York since the terrorist attacks, and is nervous about visiting Ground Zero. "I was in New York pretty much right before Sept. 11, and I haven't been back since," she said. "I'm interested and a little scared to go, but I'm excited to help out." The event will be televised nationwide on the Cable Television Broadcasting Network and presented live on Sky Angel, a satellite-dish network in Texas and Florida. Tickets for the event can be purchased through Ticketmaster for $15.