By Lynette Norris
Greene Publishing, Inc.
At Madison County Memorial Hospital, several of the staff took a short break Monday afternoon, gathering in the hospital’s small chapel to remember the fallen heroes of September 11. As Howard Phillips set up the large flag in the chapel shortly before the ceremony, he spoke of plans to be able to broadcast such services to patient’s rooms in the new hospital; not just services like the 9/11 Ceremony, but also things like a daily devotional or other uplifting program “as part of the whole heart, mind and soul holistic approach that we’ll have.”
Shortly after 2:30 p.m., Vicki Howerton began the service by saying that everyone present probably remembered exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news of the attack on the Twin Towers. She followed up with Psalms 46, part of which reads, “the Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.”
“9/11 was huge,” she said. “It affected so many people. But God is still in control and for that we are thankful.”
Howard Phillips spoke next, saying that he, too remembered where he was when he heard of the attacks. He was stranded out of the country, unable to get a flight back into the U.S. for several days. Having been in the military, he did not feel the disbelief that many shared, because he knew that America had some violent enemies, but he did feel a tremendous anger that the attacks had been against innocent people; civilians, non-military, non-combatants … people just going about their daily lives.
“As the years have passed, I’ve tried to put that anger and that hatred out,” he said. “I’ve tried to replace it with love and respect for the people who gave their lives that day.” The men and women of the police departments and fire departments, the first responders, the military men and women who have since died in the war on terror, as well as those who continue to serve today…all of them deserve our honor and respect, he said. He also spoke of his oldest grandson, who had just enlisted in the Air Force.
“We as Americans do tend to forget,” he said, citing the example of fewer flags flown today and far fewer flag pins being sold than in the days immediately following the first 9/11 ten years ago. “To forgive is divine, but to forget is to allow history to repeat itself.”