‘May we never forget that on that day, our true focus was on one another’s needs’

MONROE, CT — A dozen people gathered by the entrance to Monroe Congregational Church to take part in a solemn ceremony Friday morning, honoring those who died in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The voice of the Rev. Jennifer M. Gingras, pastor of the church, could be heard from a speaker inside the entrance, as she said a few words before the bell was rung 19 times for each year that passed on that tragic day in 2001.

The Rev. Jennifer M. Gingras, left, pastor of Monroe Congregational Church, greets the small crowd that gathered outside for a 9/11 remembrance ceremony Friday morning.

First Selectman Ken Kellogg was among those in attendance, who bowed their heads for a moment of silence, while others watched a live video feed from the Monroe Parents Facebook page, which organized the event.

Gingras then led everyone in prayer:

God of all people, we hurt deeply for those who lost their lives and those who lost their loved ones on September 11, 2001. We mourn the nearly 3,000 people who died that day. We are humbled by the bravery of the first responders.

We remember the way communities responded, as churches, synagogues, temples and mosques opened their doors to all people, as strangers in New York and the Pentagon carried each other out of buildings.

We remember the bravery of the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 — and we pause.

We still recall how the world responded, supporting us and even declaring us one people. “Today we are all Americans,” the headlines read. Teach us to be patriotic, but humbly so, remembering our responsibilities towards one another.

Guide us to see the frailty, beauty and value of life in light of this horrific tragedy. Remind us of the way the true heart of this nation and her people were revealed in open doors, open arms and open hearts.

May we never forget that on that day, our true focus was on one another’s needs as we grounded ourselves in love and compassion. Call us back to that place in our hearts. Instill in us the call to be that people once again.

We lift up to you all those who, even today, 19 years later, suffer from a loss that has affected millions. May we continue to heal and to help each other, just as we did on that fateful day. Blessed be their memories forever. Amen.

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