This year the anniversary of 9/11/2001 is on a Sunday. Churches will be filled with people as on every Sunday and many churches will make note of the sacrifices of the people working in the Trade Center Towers, the Pentagon, and the four airplanes. Hopefully they will also recognize the first responders (fire and police personnel) who rushed into the burning buildings only to have the towers collapse and kill them.
While it would not be appropriate to either trivialize the significance of 9/11 in American history, it is also not right to make it a jingoistic or nationalistic event. That day was one of the worst terrorist attacks but it was preceded and followed by scores of other terrorist attacks across the world (Nairobi, Madrid, London, Oklahoma City, Bali, Beslan, Mumbai, etc. to name but a few of the most infamous and deadly). The attacks are the feeble attempt by a few to disrupt lives and impose their ideology on others.
For 9/11, I’m asking our members of the church's Safety Officer Team who are active duty police officers to come in uniform (with weapons) and with a marked car. Ostensibly this is to remind people that on 9/11/2001 it was the first responders who voluntarily went into the burning towers and to their deaths. The other reason for very visible officers is to deter someone from attacking the church. Of course, our regular traffic officer will be on the street with his marked car, too. There has been much speculation that Al-Qaida or some other organization or person wanting to make a name will attempt a terrorist event on this upcoming anniversary.
Inside the church's lobby, I've suggested that we have a poster for people to sign and write notes on. Actually, we need four of them because Sunday afternoon, we can take each of these four posters to the three fire stations and one police station who take care of our church. This will be our way of thanking them for their service to us but also to say that we remember the day they lost so many of their brothers and sisters.
Let me encourage every church to have some acknowledgement on 9/11 of the first responders in their area - that is a great tribute to those who died 10 years ago. But let me also encourage you to take precautionary measures to discourage terrorists.