9/11 remembered in Lehighton
Gail Maholick/TIMES NEWS Ray Koons of All Saints Episcopal Church was the keynote speaker at the 9/11 Remembrance Service held Sunday at the Lehighton Park. The service concluded with a candlelighting ceremony.
Life (Lehighton Interfaith Fellowship) held a 9/11 Remembrance Service Sunday at the Lehighton Park Amphitheater.
Shirley Stamm of First Presbyterian Church welcomed everyone to the service on behalf of Life, which is an interdenominational group of representatives from local churches who meet to show a unity of service in the Lehighton area.
Keynote speaker Ray Koons said it was an honor and a privilege to share the precious moments with the group. He said that in 1963 President Kennedy said that a nation revealed itself not only by the men and women it produces, but also by the men and women it honors.
"Tonight we honor," he said. "Tonight we remember."
Koons said that Sept. 11, 2001, is a day that will go down in infamy.
"Thousands perished at the hands of cowards," he said. "We gather this evening to honor those fallen comrades - our brothers and sisters who died Sept. 11, 2001. May we never forget the devastation that day brought forth. But let us also never forget those heroic Americans who answered the call for help and continue each day to risk their lives to protect us from the ominous clouds that hang over us - the police - the firefighters."
Koons said that those special Americans our brave men and women in our armed forces protect us each day in the four corners of the world. They are at the ready to defend the freedoms that we exercise each day.
He said that the well of plenty needs to be replenished, which requires hard work, dedication and the courage to stand tall.
"The flame of hope must once again burn," he said. "Our heavenly Father's way, is that you and I are the spark that ignites the flame of hope. We continue to fuel that flame with love, compassion and understanding through hard work, faith and dedication and undying love of our country."
Koons asked that everyone think before they speak, to be careful not to utter without thought those hateful and hurtful words that bring heartache and heartbreak to others. He also advised everyone to not be afraid to cry and let the tears flow. His third advisement was to remember to laugh every day. He said not to laugh at others, but to laugh together because laughter helps keep things in perspective and puts people at ease. He also said that political correctness should never stir our lives or the direction our society is traveling.
"Please reach out and plant positive seeds into the fertile minds of others," he said.
He concluded that God has a plan for our lives and that we should see with our heart and hear with our heart every day and that will make for a wondrous tomorrow.
Also taking part in the service was Emma Weaver, SALM of Grace/Zion Lutheran Church.
"Tonight we pray for the lost lives of the people in the planes and on the ground," she said.
Rose Marie Austin and the Rev. Michael Ahernsfield, SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church; Rabbi Melody Davis, Temple Israel; and Barry Shupp, Zion United Church of Christ, tolled a bell for all who lost their lives in the World Trade Center - Flight 11 and Flight 175; The Pentagon - Flight 77, Shanksville - Flight 93; and the War on Terror.
Music was provided by Robert Fatzinger on the keyboard and a choir sang several selections.
The program concluded with everyone who attended lighting a candle.
The planning committee consisted of representatives from All Saints Episcopal Church, Mary Kay Levendusky; First Presbyterian Church, Janet Rohlfing and Shirley Stamm; St. Matthew's Lutheran Church, Robert Fatzinger; SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, Rose Marie Austin; and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, Shirley Radler.