September 11: 9/11 Services (2001)

On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic terrorist group al-Qaeda hijacked four airliners and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon, and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. Over 3,000 people were killed during the attacks, including more than 400 police officers and firefighters. It was one of those days that everyone remembers where they were and what they did to cope with the horror of the day’s events. For many in downtown Washington, Epiphany provided that calm in the midst of the storm. The Tuesday Concert Series for the day was cancelled, but the church remained open until most people had left the city. An impromptu prayer service was held with 60 people in attendance. The daily noontime Eucharist on the following two days drew about the same number, almost three times the typical attendance.

President Bush proclaimed “Friday, September 14, 2001, as a National Day of Prayer and Remembrance for the Victims of the Terrorist Attacks on September 11, 2001. I ask that the people of the United States and places of worship mark this National Day of Prayer and Remembrance with noontime memorial services, the ringing of bells at that hour, and evening candlelight remembrance vigils.” Epiphany’s bells rang and close to 800 people attended a noontime service. On the following Wednesday, an additional service with special music and remembrances was held with an attendance of over 400 people. Several years after the 9/11 attacks, an opportunity presented itself for Epiphany to host a local Muslim congregation’s weekly prayer service; an outreach that continues to this day.

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2 Comments

  1. Evelyn Rowe

    Mon 11th Sep 2017 at 6:54 pm

    I was at the Friday service. I have never seen so many people at Epiphany. After all the galleries were full, peoplewe put more chairs on the platform. At Communion, Eric Plutz played his entire pre-wedding program and then some while the people went up. I saw many people who had never been in an Episcopal church before and was grateful for the opportunity to help them follow the liturgy and hymnal. The President and the national leadership were at the Cathedral, but we had enough church!

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