With the anniversary of the September 11, Brookings-Harbor this week joined the rest of the country, and the world, in memorial services dedicated to those who lost their lives in the terrible tragedy of last year.
Sunday morning, Sept. 8, the morning service at the Calvary Assembly of God Church was dedicated to those who served in the aftermath of that tragic attack on the trade center towers in New York.
"The new heroes," pastor Adrian van Aswegen, called the firefighters, police officers, those serving in our armed forces, and ordinary men and women who sacrificed their lives to save others that day. He made it clear that those who currently serve in those capacities, risking their lives for the rest of us, are included in the "hero" designation.
The guests of honor at the memorial service and dinner were the Brookings-Harbor firefighters, police officers and armed service members.
Facing the projection of the American flag on a large screen, the audience stood and fervently sang "The Star Spangled Banner," "God Bless America," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic."
As the crowd stood at attention for the presenting of the colors, it appeared, at least in this crowd, that patriotism and love of God and country is definitely not "corny," as it seems to have been considered in some circles in the recent past.
A standing ovation was given for those who serve in those services in our community.
During parts of the rest of the ceremony, moving scenes of the tragedy were projected on the large screen, an awesome reminder of the possibility of the unthinkable.
Bob Barham, a former emergency medical technician and firefighter, who is today a district superintendent for the Assembly of God churches, presented the message.
"Life is not the same today," Bower said about the changes since 9/11. He said we are all more alert and need to have time for each other, and quoted from Psalm 56, "What can mere man do to me...."
Bower also stressed that the tragedy has given special meaning to "In God we trust."
He also reminded those of us who live in this community how fortunate we are to live here, where we are surrounded by beauty.
Special booklets and publications handed out to those entering the sanctuary included articles dealing with the aftermath of the tragedy, including, "Hate Cannot Win," "Life in the Face of Death," and "Our Unity."
The large crowd, of all ages from babies to older adults, who shared the dinner served in the fellowship hall following the ceremony, was a representation of joyful America. In a society often known for ill-mannered children and adults, it was delightful to see so many children of all ages enjoying a meal together with love and courtesy.