Ten years gone but not forgotten

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The Salvation Army remembers Sept. 11, 2011.

By Karen Gleason

A Salvation Army officer at ground zero speaks with a recovery worker following 9/11. Photo courtesy of USA Eastern Territory

Sept. 11 falls on a Sunday this year, and throughout the U.S., The Salvation Army will hold services of remembrance, recalling not only the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001 but also the valiant service given by Salvation Army volunteers following the disaster, particularly at New York City’s (NYC) “ground zero,” the World Trade Center site.

Among the first agencies to arrive at ground zero after the attacks, The Salvation Army was the last to leave when operations formally ended there nine months later. The Army’s response to 9/11 came to be known as “Operation: Compassion Under Fire,” during which the Army provided food, hydration, supplies, grief counseling, financial assistance, referrals and more to hundreds of thousands of emergency workers, families of victims and others impacted by the terrorist attacks.


Activities in the East

General Linda Bond, The Salvation Army’s international leader, will be the guest speaker at the American Bible Society meeting on Sept. 9 in NYC, which includes a “Gathering of 9/11 Commemoration.” The New York Staff band will also be there.

For members of the 9/11 community not invited or unable to attend the national 9/11 anniversary ceremony near the World Trade Center site, The Salvation Army Greater New York Division and the Mental Health Association (MHA-NYC) of NYC are providing an alternative gathering place to view the national ceremony—the 1,347-seat Centennial Memorial Temple on West 14th Street.

Beginning early on Sept. 11, survivors, displaced residents, first responders and 9/11 volunteers from all agencies, as well as families of victims not attending the World Trade Center ceremony can come to this “Family Support Center,” which will feature live streaming of the entire national ceremony in a press-free environment. Refreshments will be available, along with child care, mental health services and massage therapy.

“Due to space limitation and security, a sizable segment of the 9/11 community has never been included in the national annual memorial service,” said Lt. Colonel Guy D. Klemanski, Greater New York divisional commander. “What we are providing is a quiet, relaxing alternative site where these people can come together as a community, receive support, and give support to each other on this solemn occasion.”

The Salvation Army location will be the only site featuring a live presentation of the national ceremony in a private theater with these kinds of amenities.

The Eastern Territory’s Priority magazine published a special 9/11 10th anniversary issue, “We Remember,” with three main sections featuring the memories of more than 50 Salvation Army officers and volunteers who served at the three sites: “ground zero” in NYC, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.

The territory also published a children’s book, 9/11 Helping the Heroes: The Salvation Army Story, for Salvationists to share the experience with children and grandchildren. After describing what happened that day in NYC, it focuses on the positive—how The Salvation Army came alongside first responders to serve them.

For more information on these publications, contact the Eastern Territory at (845) 620-7200; ask for the Literary Department.

Activities in the West

On Sept. 11, the Long Beach (Calif.) Citadel will hold a Service of Remembrance at 2 p.m. and an Open Forum at 4 p.m., which will be streamed live on SAVN.TV—Salvation Army Vision Network, a new territorial media outlet. Special guests will be Commissioners Joe and Doris Noland and Commissioners William and Marilyn Francis. At the time of the attacks, the Nolands were Eastern territorial leaders and the Francises were chief secretary and territorial secretary of women’s ministries. Live interactive chat room discussion will take place during the Forum, when first responders Noland and Francis will respond to questions from guests both in house and live from SAVN.TV.

Captains Billy and Annalise Francis are Long Beach Citadel corps officers.

Among other Western Territory events, Salvation Army emergency disaster services volunteers will march in the 9/11 remembrance parade in Denver, Colo., with local FEMA partners, the governor and the mayor.

In Pueblo, Colo., The Salvation Army is joining Sam’s Club for a community festival on Sept. 10 to honor military/first responders.

The Sacramento Salvation Army will participate in a ceremony at the state capitol on Sept. 11, called “Decade of Remembrance.”

In San Francisco, Salvationists may participate in activities at Golden Gate Park and National Recreation Area, beginning at 5:47 a.m. PST (time of the first terrorist attack), and hosted by the San Francisco Interfaith Council. In addition, as part of Hands On Network 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance, San Francisco Harbor House will host a group of local volunteers to provide basic repairs to the facility. Hands On hopes to achieve 1 million acts of service that day.

Contact your local Salvation Army unit to find out what’s going on in your community.

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