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`Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted’

Donna Daniels

As a gentle rain fell on Glenwood Springs Wednesday morning, students, teachers and parents gathered around the flagpole in front of St. Stephen’s School to remember Sept. 11, 2001.

The children sang “America the Beautiful” under the leadership of music teacher Markita Lerch. She admonished the students to “remember what we’re thinking about when we sing this song.”

The eighth-graders unfurled the flag and raised it on the flagpole.

They recited the Pledge of Allegiance, led by eighth-grader Matt Butler. And they sang the national anthem.

Megan Freyschlag, also an eighth-grader, led the school in the Pledge for Tomorrow.

“On this first anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001, I pledge to: Pray for justice and peace throughout the world. Learn about Catholic social teaching and issues that lead to injustice and violence. Reach out to those of other faith traditions and seek to understand their beliefs. Witness our values of mutual respect, human dignity and respect for life. Serve others by changing unjust structures. Stand in solidarity with those who suffer. Hope for a better world transformed by our prayer and actions.”

Eighth-grader Peter Busk solemnly rang a bright gold handbell six times, pausing between each ring for silent prayer. The six rings marked the six key events of the terrorist attacks: The plane crashes into Towers One and Two of the World Trade Center, the plane crash into the Pentagon, the fall of Flight 93 and the collapse of the two towers.

Next, the eighth-grade class spoke a series of petitions based on the eight Beatitudes.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. For those who lost friends, co-workers, family members and loved ones in the events of Sept. 11, we pray to the Lord. Lord hear our prayer,” they said.

Their petitions also included a prayer for those who work with the poor and those “deprived of the basic necessities of life and fundamental human rights.”

They spoke the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: “Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is darkness, light … Grant that I may seek not so much to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love.”

The half-hour ceremony concluded with a roundelay song, “Love Cannon.”

The rain continued to fall, but gently, as the children made their way back to their classrooms to begin their day, Wednesday, Sept. 11, 2002.


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