Summary: Our president has called for National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, but what is it that we should remember?
Introduction to the 9-11 Service
President Bush has declared September 9th through the 11th as National Days of Prayer and Remembrance. It is in Light of that declaration we have set today aside as a congregation to lead us into that time of prayer and remembrance. We will begin our service this morning by repeating the “Pledge of Allegiance” but we do so not just as an act of patriotism but to remind us that we are indeed “one nation under God.” In June, a federal court created a national uproar when it ruled the Pledge unconstitutional because it contained the words “One nation under God.” The courts will not decide if this is one nation under God,” we as a people decide that every day by the choices we make. Would you stand with me as Bro. Scott comes to lead us in the “Pledge of Allegiance?”
Remembering the Tragedy of 9-11
Some events in human history impact us so greatly that we will forever have engraved in our minds where we were and what we were doing when we heard the news. I’ll never forget that I was sitting in my sixth grade classroom when we heard the news that the President of the United States, John F. Kennedy had been assassinated. Nor will I forget stepping out from taking a shower in a motel room in Fayetteville, Arkansas and hearing Bro. Brian tell me that he thought someone had just flown an airplane into one of the Twin Towers in New York. As I sat down on edge of the bed to find out more details, I watched in horror as the second plane crashing into the South Tower. Those images are forever embedded in my memory. You no doubt remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when you first heard the news.
Our president has called for National Days of Prayer and Remembrance, but what is it that we should remember?
1. Need To Remember The Cost In Human Lives.
On September 11th, nearly 3,000 people lost their lives at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in rural fields in Pennsylvania. It was the most devastating attack ever to happen on American soil; costing more lives than even the attack on Pearl Harbor (2,500 Americans died then) Nineteen cowardly individuals, who killed in the name of religion, carried out this insidious attack).
We need to be careful not to forget the lives that were lost on that dreadful day and not to forget the lives of those who have been forever changed. Not to forget the widows who are raising children alone. Not to forget the parents who will never hold their children again.
2. We Need To Remember The Extraordinary Acts Of Heroism And Compassion
We also need to not forget the heroism shown by ordinary people who rose to the occasion in extraordinary ways. Reactions to this crisis, has brought forth both the best and the worse in people. Yes there have been some dark spots such as the Pakistani woman who was purposefully run down while crossing a super-market lot with groceries simply because she wore the traditional dress of her homeland. But it has also called forth unnumbered heroic acts, some recorded and many that were not. There were many lights in the darkness. September 11th shocked this nation, and in remembering that tragic day: let us gain a renewed respect for those who have proven themselves to be true heroes! The firefighters, police, and rescue workers who risked their lives and even gave their lives to save others are true heroes!
One thing September 11 has shown us is that we never know…none of us ever know how much time we have—or how much time those around us have…therefore it is imperative that we spread the news of the saving Gospel of Christ with everyone we can!
The last issue of the “Focus on the Family Magazine,” [Christin Ditchfield. September, 2002. “A Light In the Darkness.” pp. 18-19] detailed the actions of Al Braca. Al worked on the 105th floor of Tower One. When he realized that they were trapped in the building and would be unable to escape, Al shared the gospel with 50 of his co-workers and led them in prayer. Some of those same individuals had in the past mocked him for his faith.
If September 11 can teach us anything…. anything good at all…certainly it shows us that by following the model of Christ….ordinary Christians like you and me can be heroes!!!
And who hasn’t heard of the heroic act of the passengers aboard United Airlines Flight 93? One of those passengers was named Todd Beamer, in a conversation with a telephone operator he told that plane had been high-jacked and that the passengers were discussing ways to overpower the high-jackers. He ended his conversation by asking the operator to pray with him. The last words the operator heard him say were “Are you guys ready, Lets Roll.” The heroic sacrificial action by those passengers to bring down the plane no doubt saved many lives as the high-jackers were denied their ultimate target. Some have suggested its target was the White House and the President of the United States. [Tom Neven. Focus on the Family Magazine. "Lets Roll” pp. 2-4]