torch bearer
bringing the light of Jesus to a dark world John 8:12


I have the privilege to speak at a 9-11 Memorial and Procession tomorrow here in Asotin.  I wanted to share what came from my heart.  May we always remember...

Our American lives were forever changed on that fall Tuesday morning of September 11, 2001.  Each of us have a story and memory of what we were doing that day.  Many of us were at work or school, while others of us were still heading there.  Maybe you were at home when you received the horrible news that 2 planes were flown into the World Trade Center, another into the Pentagon, and still another that was stopped by its passengers before it could cause more damage. The shocking news that America was under attack.

Other American citizens were expecting a normal day of work as firefighters, EMS, or police officers in NYC.  At least as normal as these jobs allow.  Little did they know that their lives, as well as their families lives, would be devastated that day.  On that day 343 firefighters, 72 police officers and 42 EMS personnel didn’t come home from shift.  On that day they gave the ultimate sacrifice, the ultimate act of heroism.  On that day they showed that the health and safety of others outweighed their own well-being.  

They lived out the very words of the Fireman’s Prayer:

When I am called to duty, God
whenever flames may rage,
Give me the strength to save some life
Whatever be its age.
Help me to embrace a little child
Before it's too late,
Or some older person
from the horror of that fate.
Enable me to be alert
And hear the weakest shout,
And quickly and efficiently
to put the fire out.
I want to fill my calling
and give the best in me,
To guard my neighbor
And protect his property.
And if according to Your will
I have to lose my life,
Please bless with Your protecting hand
My children and my wife

There were words once spoken in an ancient time that still hold the same power and truth today.  The words of Jesus recorded in John 15:12, 13 say this, “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

We are here today to give honor to those who laid down their life not only for their friends, but for those they did not know.  Our tears, our actions and our words stand in such small comparison to the ultimate act of friendship that these heroes showed us that day.  We, the American public, give honor where honor is due, even though it cannot fully express our gratitude to those heroes.  We are proud of those rescue workers from that day.

We also salute our men and women who serve us today in the LC Valley.  Who faithfully do a job that many are not able to do.  To those who view other’s lives as more important than their own, we say thank you.

Lt. John B. Putnam Jr., a USAF pilot who was shot down and killed in 1944 at the age of 23, once said, “Courage is not the lack of fear but the ability to face it”.  As much as we are here to honor those who gave so much that day, and to those who continue to give, we are also called to look into the future.  We are challenged today to not live in the fear of the past, but to be propelled into a better future by these very events.  That day taught us not to be taken prisoner by other’s choices, but to be overcomers in the face of adversity. To find courage in the face of fear.  There are those who have found a source of courage and those who still live in a place of fear.  Let us resolve today, to be a people not overcome with fear, but a people who will overcome fear with courage.  A people who, as the Apostle Paul said, will not be overcome with evil, but will overcome evil with good.  Using the good of forgiveness to overcome the past and to live in a bright future.  The good of forgiveness even to a people who seemingly don’t deserve it. Let us be the people that nations strive to be like and the people that our future generations will speak highly of.

So today, we honor those who gave everything on September 11, 2001 by saying thank you not only in words but in action and resolve.  We honor you by being the generations that will never forget your sacrifice, continually give you honor, and live in a future that you have helped pave for us.  We say thank you, and we will never forget!

Let’s pray:
Heavenly Father, we are here today in reflection on an event that is so solemn and so life changing.  We are here to remember those who gave their life so that others would have life.  Our hearts beat heavy for the loved ones left to grieve and our prayers are to You today that You would bring them comfort and peace.  Teach us, the remaining ones, how to respond with courage while standing in the face of fear.  Teach us, O LORD, how to forgive those who have done heinous deeds to us.  To forgive them just as you have forgiven us.   Let us learn from those who responded with many acts of courage so valiantly that day.  May our actions today bring honor to those who gave all on September 11th.  May we walk as a nation and as a people who have learned from those before us, so that our future may be bright in You.  We pray protection over those men and women who continually put themselves in harm’s way each day.  May your hand be upon them and upon their families.  We ask these things today in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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Asotin, WA, United States
Follower of Jesus, husband, dad, and called to be His torch bearer to the world.
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