September 15, 2001
Valley joins in prayer, remembrance
By Joanna Corman / firstname.lastname@example.org and and Matthew Chin /
They wore red, white and blue. Some held small American flags. Stars and
stripes adorned their shirts. Three days after hijackers crashed
jetliners into New York landmarks, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania
field, hundreds of Inland Valley residents mourned the losses in a
national day of prayer and remembrance called by President
In religious and secular services, people sang through
tears and offered prayers to the victims, their families, rescue workers
and political leaders. There were calls for a spiritual revival, for
justice and not revenge.
At the Claremont Colleges, an interfaith
service filled the 690-seat Garrison Theater nearly to capacity. Many in
the audience who had fought back tears through much of noontime service
broke down during a moving chorus of the hymn "Let There Be Peace on
Earth" that ended the service.
"I find it encouraging that there
was such a strong coming together," said sophomore Janel Wright, her
eyes still red.
Afternoon classes were canceled at the
Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center hosted a noontime
prayer service for hospital staff and community members in the same
courtyard where blood donors have been showing up all week.
hope is that we'll go away with strength, with comfort, with a sense of
unity among us," hospital chaplain Judith Roska said.
Many in the
hospital gathering were visibly tearful while listening to Roska and
several other area spiritual leaders.
More than 500 people
gathered at Calvary Chapel of the Chino Valley at noon. Pastor David
Rosales talked about an unraveling of spiritual values in this country,
saying that Americans have turned their backs to God. He said Tuesday's
events may be a wake-up call to renew or initiate faith in
"In times of prosperity, we have our greatest challenges,"
he said. "It's the tragedies that draw us back together. Perhaps we as a
nation have forgotten our God."
The answer, he said, is through
"We are under spiritual attack as well as physical
attack," Rosales said.
He warned against retaliation. In an area
as diverse as Southern California, he urged sensitivity to religious and
"You might be driving by a person who appears
to be a member of another race or religion," he said. "You may want to
lash out at them. Please don't do that."
Several people who
attended said the service was helping them heal.
happened," church member Steve Lewis said, "I was at work. All I wanted
to do was pray, come to a church and pray. I wanted to pray for everyone
affected by this."
The Bahai community of Claremont offered an
interfaith prayer service Friday evening at the home of Dr. Arsalan and
Keyvan Geula said she hopes the diverse gathering
would give people strength and "that they would see the picture of
harmony and the picture of love and they would draw the picture of
At the First Mennonite Church of Upland, Pastor
Jeff Wright asked those in attendance to reject violence. He talked
about the importance of trusting God when "it does not make sense to
have faith in the midst of what we see on TV."
We must uphold the
sanctity of all human life and cherish each other, he said, "so that
violence becomes a distant memory. Is that a naive wish? I don't know,
but I'd like to find out."
More than 60 people attended the
evening service hosted by the First Mennonite Church and Iglesia Fuente
de Zida, which shares space in the Campus Avenue building.
offered several suggestions for dealing with the aftermath of Tuesday's
attacks. His congregation could donate Sunday's offerings to a Mennonite
church in lower Manhattan that has been feeding rescue workers. The
congregation also could invite Inland Valley Muslims to a service, he
Simi Wakawa of Upland said he came in part to remember
those who died on Tuesday.
"We're required by God to pray when we
have incidents like that that affect others," Wakawa said. "We're
supposed to remember them in our prayers."
Diamond Bar High
students joined in impromptu efforts at schools around the country,
arriving on campus Friday to find an overwhelming number of fellow
students dressed in red, white and blue.
In keeping with a
suggestion made over the public-address system during Thursday's morning
announcements, students and staff showed up en masse in patriotic
colors. Office staff and teachers joined in.
"We saw the worst
part of human nature, and this gives you hope that people are good,"
freshman Jeff Song said.
©Copyright 2001, Los Angeles Times