MIFFLINTOWN - In the wreckage of the World Trade Center that was destroyed by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001, emergency responders discovered the likeness of a cross in steel beams.
The cross quickly became a shrine of hope after the tragic day that will remain in the memory of every American old enough to recall the event.
Tomorrow will mark the 10th anniversary of the attack, and several local churches have organized special services to remember those who died as well as to honor local service men and women who respond to emergencies in our communities every day.
The Rev. Ron Shupe, of the First Baptist Church of Juniata County, remembered how so many Americans turned to fervent prayer after the attacks.
Sept. 11, 2001 was a "horrific event of death and destruction" that caused widespread shock for weeks following the event, Shupe said.
Reflection is an important part of life and faith, he said.
When Christians look back to those fateful days, they remember to thank God for helping the nation through that extremely difficult trial, Shupe said.
"(We can) ... even thank God that things were not even worse because it could have been," he said.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, "In everything give thanks; for this is the will of GOD in Christ Jesus concerning you."
This is why First Baptist and several other local churches have scheduled special services to commemorate Sept. 11, 2011.
Along with prayers and memories, Shupe said his church will give thanks to local fire fighters, police and other emergency service personnel for their sacrifices and service to the community, year after year.
The pastor referred to Romans 13:7, which says, "To give respect to whom respect is due and to give honor to whom honor is due."
Retired Lt. Colonel John Sargent, guest speaker at First Baptist, said the military, police, fire fighters and emergency service men and women are the "sheepdogs" of society, protecting the citizens, or "sheep," from the "wolves."
The sheepdogs often get taken for granted, he said.
A minister with Missions to Military, Sargent and his wife were in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2001 when they heard about the U.S. attacks. They had just pulled up at the airport to pick up a group of volunteers from New York, when they noticed all the taxi drivers outside of their cars listening to the radio.
"Your country is being attacked," one of them told Sargent. They couple returned home and turned on the TV. A German station was broadcasting the attacks, and they watched the buildings burn, he said.
The U.S. ambassador cautioned all Americans to keep a low profile for a while and stay off the streets, Sargent remembered.
Their ministry in Ukraine did not change a whole lot after Sept. 11, 2001, though, Sargent said. They continued serving there until 2006, when they returned to the U.S.
To find out more about Missions to Military, visit www.missionstomilitary.org.