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Prayer permeated the Ground Zero ceremonies Sunday

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Prayer, scripture-reading and talk of the Almighty resounded as Americans stood together on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks on America.

At the Flight 93 Memorial in Pennsylvania, a Navy tenor’s voice wafted clear the words of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic”  in the morning stillness: “In the beauty of the lilies, Christ was born across the sea … as He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free”

The classic hymn “Amazing Grace,” written by a repentant slave trader more than a century ago praising God for saving “a wretch like me,’ was offered by choirs, bands and soloists at all three sites.

At Ground Zero in New York, President Barack Obama and former Mayor Rudy Guiliani both read from the Bible.

Obama read Psalm 46, which speaks of perseverance: “The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved. He uttered His voice. The earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear.”

George W. Bush gave Obama a quick nod of solidarity, then read of sacrifice from a letter written by President Abraham Lincoln to a mother who lost five sons in the Civil War  — including a heart-felt prayer:

“I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.” 

Current Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who had banned any clergy from the Ground Zero ceremonies and had ignored pleas and written petitions to include the Almighty in the observance, quoted Shakespeare.

Obama also services at the Pentagon and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where United flight 93 was brought down as passengers tackled hijackers be intent on flying it into the White House or U.S. Capitol.

At the Pentagon, Obama placed a wreath at a memorial where each of 184 victims is remembered with a bench and small reflecting pool and greeted visitors while a military band played “Amazing Grace”.

In New York, Candy Glazer, whose husband, Edmund, had called her for a cheerful goodbye before take-off on the plane that ultimately crashed into the Trade Centre’s north tower, said: “May your soul finally rest in peace. Your son Nathan and I, as the years go by, grow strong. Goodbye, my dear friend, my teacher and my hero.”

“Many attendees openly wept,” reported Michael Bowman, reporting for the Voice of America. “The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, acknowledged the pain that lingers 10 years after the attacks.

“No music can assuage, no tongue can express,” Mullen said, “no prayer alone may dampen the yearning. Lives ended in this place. Dreams were shattered.”

Giuliani asked for God’s blessing on all those lost and left behind. “God bless every soul that we lost,” he prayed. “God bless the family members who have to endure that loss, and God guide us to our reunion in Heaven, and God bless the United States of America.”



  • pray

    I just don’t understand why it takes a tragedy to get the nation as a whole to pray. There are 364 other days in the year, and prayer never hurt anyone.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment alan

    I’m glad that everyone didn’t listen to Bloomberg about not mentioning God in the 9/11 ceremony

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jeanne Danner

    I’m glad to see that Bloomberg didn’t win out on his trying to block any mentioning of God in the 9/11 ceremony. This country was founded on Christianity and yet the few are dictating when and where we ca practice that faith. I think we all respect other traditions, why can’t we practice ours?

  • http://Blessings Nancy

    In reading all that went on, God was not officially invited by Mayor Blumberg BUT God Definitely was present anyway and revealed through peoples words and hearts and testimonies.
    God Have Mercy on the Soul of America!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jean

    Thank God for our President and Giuliani for their prayers and reference to God. Bloomberg should be ashamed of himself and should have stayed home!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jacquie Ponsford

    One of my distant family members lost her life at the Pentagon on 9/11. Her name is Dana Faulkenberg. She was 3 yeaars old, the youngest of the victims. I have never personally met the family but I wish I had. I need to contact the family and hope they know I mourn the loss of their daughter. 9/11 was the worst event I have ever experienced. It tops when JFK was killed. I was in 9th grade. That day my sense of safety was pretty much wiped out and I began to realize how dangerous the world had become. But I have deep sense of faith in God. I know He is a refuge at all times, good and tragic. I have to believe that events such as 9/11 can bind us together. I pray this country can make an effort to put aside prejudice and ignorance and begin to see we are all children of God and uniqueness is beautiful. I work with adult ESL students from many cultures. I know that acceptance of differences is the key to communication between people of all races.

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