Community members of the National Training Center and Fort Irwin came together in honoring those killed in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, during a service at the post chapel, last week.
The service included a call to prayer by Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Albert Ghergich, deputy chaplain at Fort Irwin United States Army Garrison. During the benediction, he commented about how Americans united in grief and resolve after the attacks, and that hopefully, that spirit of unity always flow through us as Americans.
Chaplain (Col.) Joseph Fleury, installation chaplain, reflected on the events of that day in 2001 and on the time that has elapsed since the attacks on our nation.
“We gather to remember, to pray, to re-commit ourselves to the task at hand,” Fleury said. “Eleven years. Where has the time gone? I know that many of us can remember where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day. I can remember closing the door of my office at Fort Campbell, getting down on my knee to pray, knowing that we would soon be a nation, and a people, at war. It was a day many of us will never forget.”
Fleury remarked that one way to remember the people killed and affected by the attacks is through prayer.
“We pray first and foremost for the thousands of our fellow American who lost their lives in New York, at the Pentagon, on Flight 93 – may God grant them eternal rest and peace,” said Fluery. “We remember and pray for their families, their friends, and all the survivors of those attacks. We also remember the courage and the bravery of the thousands of people who responded to help those in need. And in some cases, they too gave their lives, but in every case, all gave of themselves in order to help someone else.”
The audience joined in the singing of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee,” before a litany of candles were lit by community members.
The First Responder’s candle was lit in honor of all the first responders, who sacrificed their lives in service to others. The Twin Tower’s candle was lit in honor of all the lives lost in the World Trade Center attack. Another candle was lit to honor the lives lost during the attack on the Pentagon. A candle lit by Edith Esparza, volunteer with the Red Cross station, honored the passengers of Flight 93.
The remaining candles were lit as a “testimony of hope for a brighter future and a prayer for peace for all the nations.” As the last candle began to burn its wicker, the audience recited the phrase:
“We remember; through God’s grace we honor those lost by working towards a future filled with hope and peace.”