9/11 – Words of Remembrance

September 11th Remembrance Ceremony
Town of Agawam, MA
September 11, 2007; 9:45 a.m.

I was honored today to bring the Words of Remembrance for our town’s September 11th Remembrance Ceremony. We met in front of the Memorial Towers at the Agawam Fire Department. There was a light but steady rain. The American Legion Post 185 presented the colors complete with rifle salute. Local pastors led in prayer. Candles were lit, wreaths placed, songs sung. The Fire Department made a presentation while a trumpet played taps. Here is what I shared:

9/11/2007 – Words of Remembrance
Dr. Rev. Raymond E. Fowler

Six years ago today the people of our nation were attacked without warning or provocation. It was a Tuesday morning, just like today. Many of us were just arriving at work. Others were in our homes or at our schools. On the west coast some people were just waking up from a night’s sleep. But through the medium of television, together we watched the horrific events we now know as 9/11 unfold before our very eyes. In the weeks to follow we would continue to watch and mourn and grieve together as a nation.

We all remember the details and events of 9/11. For many of us, just a mention of the day’s name or perhaps an image of one of the planes can still catch us off guard and stir up the same disturbing mixture of anger, shock, fear and outrage we all experienced on that first day. There are those times when we probably wish that we did not remember, and yet we know that we cannot ignore this or somehow put it away on the shelf. We lost too much on 9/11 simply to let go and move on.

And so we have gathered here today in order to remember.

We remember first of all the lives of those innocent people who died. The terrorists who planned and carried out the attacks had no right to take these lives. We remember the passengers and flight crews on the planes. We remember the workers and children in the towers. We remember the people in the Pentagon. We remember wives separated from husbands, children separated from parents, loved ones separated from family and friends.

We also remember those people who willingly sacrificed their own lives in order to save the lives of others. We remember the firefighters, policemen and first responders. We remember the medical workers and emergency personnel. We remember those who bravely entered the devil’s cloud of dust and debris and did not return to their homes and loved ones that night. We are inspired by their courage, stunned by their sacrifice and challenged by their example. They have rightly earned the title of “heroes.”

And then today we also remember those who continue to serve our country, both here and in foreign lands, to protect us from further attacks. We remember those who serve in the various armed forces of our nation. We remember our veterans. We remember those who serve in government. We remember those who serve the public as policemen, firefighters, paramedics and in various other capacities. We are grateful to all of you who risk your lives in order to protect our country and preserve our freedom.

Innocent lives lost, willing lives sacrificed, determined lives continuing to fight on for freedom – these are the reasons we have gathered here today. These are the reasons we choose to remember 9/11.

Related posts:
    • 9/11/2010
    • 9/11 Proposed Memorial Quadrant

3 Comments

  1. Sharon Gamble says:

    Well said, Ray. I can’t think about the day without tearing up still. Thanks for giving me a space of time to remember and grieve.

  2. Barrie says:

    Ray, I wish I could have been there to hear the words in person. I was living in Lexington Mass at the tome of 9/11 and will never forget. It just goes to show how life changes in an instant and forever. Thanks for sharing your words.

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  1. 9/11 Proposed Memorial Quadrant at Ray Fowler .org

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