More Than 2000 Attend Prayer & Remembrance Service
Jamie M. Eubanks
JSU News Bureau
Silence in most conversations or events is awkward, but Friday was different; silence meant reverence. At the "Day of Prayer and Remembrance" on Friday at Jacksonville State University the chimes at Bibb Graves Hall began to toll 51 times -- once for each of the 50 states plus one for the international community. And every person among the more than 2000 attending revered that silence -- either with tears, prayers or thoughts of the tragedy of Tuesday, September 11, 2001.
Before the tolling that concluded the somber occasion, leaders from JSU and the City of Jacksonville gave words of encouragement and prayers of hope and faith. Words like pain, cowardly, senseless and barbaric were used to describe the atrocious nature of this terror.
But other words like perseverance, swift, hard work, protection, spirit, proud and brave described America's reaction to such devastation.
JSU's Marching Southerners opened with the hymn "Salvation is Created." And after JSU President Bill Meehan's welcome and the posting of colors by the JSU ROTC, the Southerners were joined by former Miss Alabama Teresa Stricklin and the JSU choirs for the national anthem.
The following spoke at the Remembrance: Jacksonville Mayor Jerry Smith; L Z Johnson, director of Center for Domestic Preparedness; Rev. Gary Brittain, minister, Baptist Campus Ministry; Miranda Killingsworth, Student Government Association president; Honorata Sulila, International Student Organization president; Dr. Franklin King, director of Distance Education; Rev. Lanier Nail, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship; Col. Herschel May, professor of military science, JSU ROTC; Rev. Penny Ford, Wesley Foundation; Rev. Sherry Travis, rector, St. Luke's Episcopal Church; Dr. Stan Easton, Canterbury Club.
Students, faculty, staff and members of the Jacksonville community gathered on the Bibb Graves Hall lawn to listen as these speakers gave words or prayers of hope.
Mr. Johnson of the Center for Domestic Preparedness gave the creeds that firefighters, emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers take. These oaths are not taken lightly and were kept when firefighters, police officers and EMTs lost their lives in the World Trade Center attacks.
Honorata Sulila, International Student Organization president, spoke of her "profound dismay." But she also added, "I hope our friends and mentors at JSU realize how we [international students] have been saddened. We realize the freedom and opportunities the United States offers to the rest of the world. And we thank JSU and the Jacksonville community for letting us into your hearts and lives."
JSU ROTC Col. May commented, "[The World Trade Center] was a symbol of America's unsinkable spirit and undying adversity. We may have lost this battle, but we will win the war. I'm proud to be an American."
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