On September 11, 2013, the children of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn gathered outside Holy Name of Jesus Church to remember the anniversary of the devastation that occurred twelve years ago. The ceremony was held beneath a large American flag that hangs over the main entrance to the church, and each child was given a small flag to hold and wave in honor of the occasion. Passersby also joined in on the service and were given their own flags to hold.
Father James Cunningham, pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Church, presided over the ceremony and called for people to remember and pray for those that passed away on September 11th. “We remember the day terror rained down and we were engulfed in fear and grief. Our grief remains and we form our hands in prayer to say ‘Grant peace, O Lord, to the souls of all those who perished on that day; grant comfort to the families who lost loved ones; grant healing to those who carry scars of the heart as well as the body of that day twelve years ago,’” he invoked.
It was Father Cunningham’s idea to hold the service in front of the church beneath the massive flag that hangs above the main entrance. The flag was bought for the tenth anniversary of 9/11 and is also hung there for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July. Parishioners love the flag, as well as many people within the wider community who often stop to take pictures of it.
“I thought it would be a great way for the kids to come outside with the flag there and remember those that lost their lives. We lost four parishioners on September 11, 2001 and so many others connected to the parishioners so it’s an opportunity for them to remember. Many of them weren’t born twelve years ago, but they still know about the event and we don’t want to ever forget,” explained Father Cunningham regarding the fitting location for the service.
The service included a three-minute period of silence punctuated by church bells encouraging those assembled to reflect on the day and its significance before ending with a prayer for peace and a rendition of “God Bless America.” Mr. Robert DiNardo, principal of St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy, stressed the importance of the service, saying, “I just think it’s really important for our kids to understand the magnitude of the event; the tragedy of it and the fact that we should never forget what happened.”