Sunday, Sept. 11, 2011, was a beautiful, sunny day, just like that fateful Tuesday 10 years earlier. This year, fortunately, the day did not end in shock, sorrow, loss, and devastation. Churches and civic groups around the country, including Chester United Methodist Church (CUMC), encouraged their members to join them for a day of service and remembrance.
For several weeks leading up to the 10-year anniversary, CUMC invited its members to volunteer in a number of ways: writing thank-you letters, making homemade treats or going out in public on 9/11 either to visit local heroes or to promote patriotism.
Of the more than 200 volunteers who showed, many were church members, members of the Kiwanis Club of Chester, Key Club members, and others. Volunteers visited six fire stations, the Chester Police station, the local rescue squad, McGuire Hospital and 11 military families at Fort Lee. The volunteers brought plaques of appreciation, thank-you cards and wonderful baked goods.
Flags were distributed at IHOP and Cracker Barrel. As a special treat, a “flash mob” surprised the folks at Kroger and Cracker Barrel with patriotic songs. In the spirit of “pay it forward” and random acts of kindness, Flagstop gave free carwashes while volunteers vacuumed cars, and quarters were distributed at a local laundromat.
A special service was conducted at CUMC to honor all those who lost their lives or their loved ones. They also honored local firefighters, policemen, EMTs and other first responders.
It truly was a community remembrance to honor 9/11.