ICKENHAM CHURCH NEWS
SEPTEMBER 11TH REMEMBERED AT WEST RUISLIP BASE
A substantial crowd of American service men and women, their families, and Ickenham folk, gathered around the dual flag pole inside RAF West Ruislip, at 9 a.m. on Wednesday 11th September, to remember those of every nation, and creed, who lost their life in New York City, Washington D.C. and Shanksville, Pennsylvania during the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Captain Rick Gilbert (acting Medical Officer) read a poem (below) and spoke of how, in its past, the world had decided that two despicable acts perpetrated by human upon human should become taboo. These were piracy and slavery. He hoped, and prayed, that terrorism would soon become the third category to be outlawed by every nation upon Earth.
Chaplain Pastor Denis Cox read the Lesson and prayed with us for the families of those affected and bereaved by the tragedy, as well as for peace and stability in our world.
The service ended with one minute of silence followed by the playing of the National Anthems of both nations. I could not help but be reminded of the words we speak during the service of the Eucharist, or Lord‰s Supper: ‹Though we are many, we are ONE BODY, because WE ALL SHARE in one bread.
At 7 p.m., that evening, Pastor Denis presided over a Service of Remembrance in the Base Chapel situated just off Ickenham High Road. In his address, on the theme of heroes, Denis spoke of our frequently misguided view of just who, and what, makes a hero. He cited the story of Al, a Christian, who spent his last moments in ëTower One‰ bringing comfort to his office colleagues through the words of Christ. Al was a hero but like other human beings could only try to save people on the ëoutside‰ i.e. literally ‹save their skinŠ. The greatest hero of them all was Jesus in whom Al invited his colleagues to trust. Jesus gave his life for all of us that we might have ëlife‰ in all its fullness. Jesus can mend not only the ëoutside‰ but more importantly he heals us internally š spirit and soul.
The congregation lit candles as the Chapel lights were dimmed and the second verse of ‹The Star Spangled BannerŠ was sung.
The Mayor of Hillingdon š Cllr. Josephine Barrett J.P. š graced the evening by her presence and said, afterwards,ć ‹it has been marvellous to be able to join with the American community, in Hillingdon, at this sad timeŠ.
I wonder what she thought as she stood there strong and tall.
She couldn‰t turn away. She was forced to watch it all.
Did she long to offer comfort as her country bled?
With her arm forever frozen high above her head.
She could not shield her eyes. She could not hide her face.
She just stared across the water keeping Freedom‰s place.
The smell of smoke and terror somehow reduced her size.
So small within the harbor but still we recognizedá
How dignified and beautiful on a day so many died.
I wonder what she thought. I know she must have cried.
As the soot and dirt and ash rained down we became one color.
As we carried each other down the burning building we became one class.
As we lit candles of waiting and hope we became one generation.
As we fell to our knees in prayer for strength we became one faith.
As we whispered or shouted words of encouragement we spoke one language.
As we gave our blood in lines a mile long, we became one body.
As we mourned together the great loss, we became one family.
As we cried tears of grief and loss, we became one soul.
Now as we recall with pride, the sacrifice of heroes, we become one people.
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St. Giles‰ Church Hall, 2 to 3.30 p.m. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and pastoral visitors.ć The next meeting is Monday 21st October (Also Monday 18th November). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970) if you would like to talk to someone first.
ICKENHAM GOOD NEIGHBOUR SCHEME exists to serve the whole of Ickenham. We‰re here to assist in an emergency. If you need help, the daytime contact numbers are: 01895 633020 or 01895 235061.