It will always be “A Day to Remember,” but Claymont’s interfaith prayer service in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001 is intended to remind us that the best way to overcome hatred is to fight it together.
More than a handful of local congregations gathered together at Holy Rosary Church to remember those who lost their lives in attacks 17 years ago, first responders who sacrifice themselves to help the victims and those who serve in the global war on terrorism.
Together, leaders and members of various congregations came together in unity.
“It’s very significant for all religions to pray for those who have sacrificed for the country and those involved in keeping this country safe,” said Rasendra Purani, a Hindu priest of the Shri Swaminarayan Gadi Sansthan Temple in Bear. “This is the time that we have to show respect and pay homage to them. Most important, we’re hand-in-hand in an appeal for peace and that makes a great impact to keep everybody close to each other.
In addition to Holy Rosary, other congregations represented included Beth Shalom, Ss. Peter and Paul Ukrainian Orthodox, Muslim Center of Wilmington, Masjid Al Kauthar, Trinity Presbyterian and St. Mark’s Lutheran.
“It was a great blow on 9/11,” Purani said. “Many people have helped moving forward. We have to thank them and pray for the families that already suffered.”
Holy Rosary parishioner Ruth Fangman lost part of her family when one of her seven children, son Robert, 33, was killed while working as a flight attendant on the plane that slammed into the second tower in lower Manhattan. She made sure to be part of the remembrance ceremony at her church.
“To me, we should never forget, and I think in some cases people did,” she said.
She holds no ill will toward anyone, mostly because she says that’s the way her son carried himself.
“‘I say to myself, ‘What would Bobby have done?’ He was open to everyone.”
Father John Gayton, pastor of Holy Rosary, said the service was about those who suffered at the hands of terror in this country and beyond.
“We remember all of us who have lived through these terrible times,” he said. “We gather in the names of many nations and many peoples who have suffered at the hands of terrorists.”
Delaware Gov. John Carney and U.S. Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons were among those to offer remarks. Father Gayton read a letter from former Vice President Joe Biden.