9-11 survivor keynote speaker at remembrance service
By Marjorie L. Kimbrough
With fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances parked on the church lawn, Cliftondale UMC in College Park began its special 9-11 Tenth Anniversary Service. It was a service of remembrance of those who had died, celebration of those who had survived, and thanksgiving for those who had rendered emergency services on September 11, 2001. Representatives of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, the fire and police departments, a rear admiral and even a colonel from the Pentagon were present.
The colonel, Thomas Williams, was in the Pentagon when the plane flew right into his office. He had just left his desk to get some coffee when the attack occurred. Most of those in his office were killed. Colonel Williams had flown in from Washington, D.C. to be present at this very special observance. An interview with him was aired on Fox 5, and he spoke of the efforts of the survivors to assist those who were wounded during the attack and the commitment to keep America safe from future attacks. The Colonel's religious upbringing was evident in his remarks during the service , and it was no surprise to the congregation that his father was a Methodist pastor. Many members of his extended family are members of local United Methodist churches.
The church was filled to capacity, the choir was dressed in new robes, and both the pastor, Rev. Karen Lyons and the Pastor-in-Residence, Rev. Dr. Walter L. Kimbrough, were proud of the worshipful atmosphere. There were special readings detailing the attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. Candles were lit for those who had died, those who had survived, and those who had provided emergency services. A trumpeter played taps while the congregation sat in silence.
Dr. Kimbrough delivered the sermon, and Cliftondale UMC received eight new members, the largest number of new members that Cliftondale has ever received at one time.
Although the special service highlighted a tragic event, it provided a wonderful opportunity for survivors, members, and friends to give praise and thanksgiving to God.