Remembering 9/11

Mark Brooky • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:07 AM

Karl and Warren Schmidt, brothers and both Eagle Scouts, brought the colors down the aisle to open the 10:30 a.m. service at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Grand Haven. The congregation then recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag and the Lutheran Pledge of Allegiance to the Lutheran flag.

Two videos were played during the service, showing stunning photos of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, and their devastating effects on America — set to hopeful Christian songs. The congregation sang patriotic hymns and the Rev. Dieter Haupt delivered a sermon that detailed the attacks of 10 years ago.

“America and its way of life was the target of evil and destruction,” Haupt said. “The (World) Trade Center was the point of impact. So much pain. So much death.

So much hatred. Our way of life was shattered like the glass in the towers.”

Haupt then explained that God’s promises offer healing, hope and forgiveness in the wake of the national tragedy.

“The promises of God stand the test of time and allow us to stand even in the most difficult times,” he said.

Other area churches held similar 9/11 tributes. St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Spring Lake conducted a Blue Mass on Sunday morning to honor all emergency first-responders.

The Grand Haven Department of Public Safety flew the American flag from the top of its tall fire truck ladder in front of the fire hall on Washington Avenue from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

The American Legion post on Harbor Drive held a brief ceremony Sunday morning to mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

David McKellar, the post’s past commander, said the ceremony was well-received. George Bennett, chaplain for a day, led the ceremony with a prayer; and the post’s commander, Phil Smith, read a statement in remembrance of those killed in the attacks. The American flag was lowered to half-staff and three volleys were fired by the post’s Honor Rifle Team.

A memorial with 3,200 flags at the Cannonsburg Ski Area near Grand Rapids served as a reminder of the victims of 9/11. Each flag in what was called “The Healing Fields” had a tag with a name of a victim who died in the attacks.

A Grand Rapids-area high school student and a volunteer firefighter organized a 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in downtown Grand Rapids on Sunday. It paid tribute to the more than 300 firefighters and emergency first-responders who died in their response to the World Trade Center attacks.

“Climbing 24 floors is nothing compared to what they did, but it’s almost like they are there in spirit and we’re just climbing for them,” said Zach Schleiffer, one of the organizers. “It’s our way of paying some respect to them.”

Money raised from registration for the event was to benefit the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.

Gov. Rick Snyder spoke Sunday evening at a Remembrance and Unity Vigil at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn. He said the country’s strength is its diversity and people should “rise above” blame — whether over politics, religion or ethnicity.

At least four Michigan communities chose Sunday’s 10th anniversary of the attacks to dedicate memorials incorporating World Trade Center artifacts.

In Brighton, hundreds attended Sunday morning’s ceremony in front of the Brighton Area Fire Department. The monument has a beam from the collapsed WTC towers suspended from four other steel beams.

A memorial at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti incorporates a beam that is 14 feet long and weighs 6,800 pounds.

Tribune Managing Editor Len Painter, The Associated Press and WZZM-TV contributed to this report.

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